Simone Biles recently made headlines for winning six of six medals at the 2018 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Qatar — a feat not accomplished by an American until now. According to the coaches at Everest Gymnastics, this alone is an incredible achievement but is made even more impressive by the fact that Biles did so after a year-long pause on training. Here, representatives from the US National Team Training Center weigh in on Biles’ career.
Q: Why did Simone Biles quit training for a year?
Everest Gymnastics: Biles decided to take a year off after winning four gold medals and a bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She trained vigorously for this event, and the break was no doubt well-deserved. In typical Biles’ fashion, she did not simply lounge around during this time, however, and spent 2017 penning her autobiography along with journalist Michelle Buford. She additionally appeared on Dancing with the Stars.
Q: What is the “Simone Division?”
Everest Gymnastics: That is how her teammates during the 2016 Olympics defined coming in second to the phenomenal athlete. And it seems the Simone Division remains intact. Biles’ skills have always been remarkable, but it appears that her lengthy hiatus only strengthened her resolve to improve. Her performance in all areas has been outstanding, especially on the uneven bars, where she had a tendency to struggle in the past.
Q: How did Biles become interested in gymnastics?
Everest Gymnastics: On her website, she explains that her interest in gymnastics first emerged when she was six. She attended a birthday party at a gymnastics studio and immediately began emulating the gymnasts that she saw. There was no doubt, from that moment on, that Biles would have a love affair with the sport. Her parents quickly enrolled her, launching what is unquestionably one of the most successful gymnastics careers in modern history.
Q: Has the widely publicized scandal surrounding Larry Nassar overshadowed Biles’ career at all?
Everest Gymnastics: In many ways, yes, but it has not damaged the athlete’s self-determination. Biles’ has been outspoken about her abuse and reports having suffered severe depression afterward. After she came out as having been a victim, she was able to put that part of her life behind her and refocus on her career so that she would be remembered for her contributions to the sport, not the personal tragedy that shook the entire industry.