Simone Biles Opens Up About Criticism, Perception After Winning 5 World Titles

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2019

USA's Simone Biles reacts during the womens all-around final at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle in Stuttgart, southern Germany, on October 10, 2019. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (Photo by LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images)
LIONEL BONAVENTURE/Getty Images

American superstar Simone Biles captured her fifth all-around title at the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Germany this week, and she wants to use her success to inspire young girls to become the best in the world at their craft.

Biles told Nancy Armour of USA Today on Friday she's intent on exposing the double standard of celebrating achievements, especially within the sports realm.

"It's important to teach our female youth that it's OK to say, 'Yes, I am good at this,' and you don't hold back," Biles said. "You only see the men doing it. And they're praised for it and the women are looked down upon for it. But I feel like it's good [to do] because once you realize you're confident and good at it, then you're even better at what you do."

She added: "It's not out of cockiness. I've won five world titles and if I say, 'I'm the best gymnast there is,' [the reaction is] 'Oh, she's cocky. Look at her now.' No, the facts are literally on the paper. I think it's important to teach [young girls] that."

Biles now owns a strong case as the best gymnast in history and she could end any type of debate with an all-around gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics next year in Tokyo.

The 22-year-old is likely to emerge as the face of Team USA next summer and could be the biggest name on the global stage following the retirements of American swimmer Michael Phelps and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt after the 2016 Summer Games.

"I try to stay focused on myself and the expectations I have for myself going in. But at times it's overwhelming," Biles told Armour about being in the spotlight. "I don't know. Somehow I just manage it."

Her success, which is highlighted by 27 medals, including 20 gold, between the Olympics and the World Championships, is something that's caught even her off guard at times.

"I wish I could have an out-of-body experience to witness it because sometimes I think I'm going crazy," Biles said. "I really don't know how I do it sometimes."

In a sport where athletes peak early, usually in their teens, Biles has now been the best gymnast is the world for six years, and the gap between the American and her closest competition is seemingly growing.  

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