The dominance of Simone Biles cannot be overstated. The 24-year-old gymnast has won the all-around gold medal at every single U.S. National Championship, World Championship, and Olympic Games she’s participated in since 2013, the first year she was eligible for senior level competition. And there is no sign that she has passed her peak. Her biggest competition in Tokyo this summer could very likely be herself.
Can the GOAT outdo her own Olympic performance from four years ago at Rio? Here’s a breakdown of what she’ll need to accomplish in each event in order to do just that.
Biles’ most dominant event is arguably the floor exercise. She’s won the gold medal in this event at every World Championships of her career and also has five first place floor finishes at the national championship level. The last time she earned anything LESS than gold in this event was back in 2015. Needless to say, she’ll need gold on floor in Tokyo to match her Rio record.
If floor is her strongest event, then vault is not far behind. Again, you have to go back to 2015 to find anything other than a top podium finish for Biles on this apparatus.
Six years of first place finishes later, there is zero let up in her pursuit of making the impossible possible. At the 2021 U.S. Classic in Indianapolis held in May, Biles debuted and landed the Yurchenko double pike, a stunt no female gymnast had ever before performed in competition. Although she’s displeased that the International Federation of Gymnastics isn’t willing to assign the stunt a value that matches many experts’ approximation of its difficulty, she’s determined to keep it in her line up. If she can get it dialed by Tokyo, chances are high she’ll repeat her gold in vault from four years ago.
I’m sorry but I can’t believe I competed a double pike on vault— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) May 25, 2021
I’m sorry but I can’t believe I competed a double pike on vault
Beam is Biles’ third strongest event. In Rio, she earned the bronze medal, so it’s one of the few places she has the potential to improve in. And signs are pointing to her being on the right track. She wrapped up 2019 with a gold on beam at the World Championships and repeated that achievement at both the U.S. Classic and U.S. National Championships in 2021. If she’s going to outdo her 2016 self, a gold or silver on the balance beam would certainly help.
By far Biles’ most challenging apparatus is the uneven bars, which was the only individual event that she did not medal in at Rio. Her only gold medal in this event came at the U.S. National Championships in 2018 and there’s no indication of any recent breakthrough. But you can never really count her out, as indicated by her bronze medal finish in this event at last month’s national championships.
Even though Olympic trials won’t occur until June 24-27, and there’s a greater than usual uncertainty about who will earn spots on Team USA alongside Biles, the US is already the favorite to take team gold in Tokyo. And Biles is the favorite-by-a-mile for the individual all-around.
If her yet-to-be-named supporting cast can meet expectations and if the GOAT continues doing GOAT things, Biles has more than a solid chance of breaking the record for most gold medals in women’s gymnastics in a single Olympics, which she currently shares with four other gymnasts.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles)
A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles)