RIO DE JANEIRO – Bow down to the greatness of Simone Biles and Aly Raisman.
Thursday afternoon at the Rio Olympic Arena was less of a sporting event and more of a royal coronation for the queen of gymnastics. The 4' 8" American star captured the women’s all-around title for her second gold medal of the 2016 Olympics and first individual gold. This is Biles’s fourth straight all-around international title—no woman has ever won more than two all-around titles in a row.
In the age of social media and the internet, Biles could become the most recognized gymnast of all-time, which would eclipse the likes of 1984 Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton and 1976 Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci who live on in Olympic lore.
It’s head-scratching to think where judges find reductions in her executions. She recorded a 15.866 on vault, 14.966 on the uneven bars, 15.433 on the balance beam and 15.933 on the floor routine, all while looking totally graceful and composed under the pressure of an Olympiad.
While we may be blinded by the brilliance of Biles, Aly Raisman shined in a silver-medal performance. After finishing fourth in the 2012 Olympics—knocked off the podium due to a tiebreaker—the Needham, Mass. native made the decision in June 2013 to make the push for Rio. Stronger than when she was a member of the “Fierce Five,” she helped the United States go 1–2 at the Summer Games for the first time since Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson in 2008.
People within the gymnastics community rejoiced at the return of “Fierce Five” stars Gabby Douglas and Raisman in 2015 and applauded her effort to try and make a second Olympic team. Elite gymnastics requires extreme strength and dedication when training at the highest level, and both Raisman and Douglas rose to the occasion. So will we see Simone Biles competing in 2020? That’s a question for another day.
For now, we get a few more days to enjoy her highness in Rio as there are more medals to be won.