9 reasons to be a little obsessed with elite gymnast Simone Biles.

At 4 feet 9 inches, Simone Biles is rarely the tallest person in the room — at least until she steps onto the podium.

The 19-year-old just won the all-around title and helped the United States secure the team title at the Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships in Everett, Washington.

In fact, this petite athlete is one of the premier gymnasts in the world, earning multiple world and U.S. all-around titles.


Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

Ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Biles is at the top of her game.

But since we only seem to hear about gymnasts every four years, you many not know much about her.

Here are nine amazing facts about the best gymnast in the world.

1. A chance encounter during a field trip introduced her to gymnastics.

She was 6 years old when her day care took a field trip to a gym. Young Simone mimicked the moves of the older athletes and caught the attention of coach Aimee Boorman. More than a decade later, the duo still work together.

Biles and Boorman hug after the 2015 World Championships. Photo by Ben Stanssall/AFP/Getty Images.

2. Simone was home-schooled for most of her education.

For years, her typical day involved four hours of studying and schoolwork at her training gym in the morning. Then gymnastics in the afternoon. When her training began, she put in 16 hours a week at the gym. Now, it's closer to 30.

Focused doesn't begin to describe it. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

3. She's all about family.

Biles' mother struggled with addiction, but her grandparents were able to step in and provide care for Simone and her younger sister Adria. While she keeps in contact with her mother, her grandmother and grandfather are officially mom and dad.

happy birthday daddio🎉
A photo posted by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

4. She has a signature flip.

It's a double layout with a half twist, and it's known in gymnastics circles as "The Biles."

5. Even former champions are amazed by Simone's talent.

Former all-around champion Mary Lou Retton called Biles "unbeatable." In a story for Team USA, Retton said: "She may be the most talented gymnast I’ve ever seen in my life, honestly. And I don’t think she’s tapped into what she can really do."

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.


6. But despite her prowess, Biles still has to deal with the B.S.

In 2013, she became the first black world all-around champion. Carlotta Ferlito, an Italian gymnast who came in 11th place, told the Italian media, "I told [teammate Vanessa Ferrari] that next time we should also paint our skin black, so then we could win too."

Though she apologized for her comments, the Italian gymnastics body went on to defend Ferlito and suggest a trend where the sport may be favoring black athletes and body types.

Biles may have a handful of ignorant haters to contend with, but she shuts them down at every turn with one simple move: winning.


Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images.

7. She is a serious force to be reckoned with.

Think of someone who's really good at something. Now triple their accomplishments. That's Simone Biles.

She is a three-time world all-around champion, with consecutive wins in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

She is a three-time U.S. all-around champion with consecutive wins in, you guessed it, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Plus, she has 10 world gold medals, a record for women's gymnastics. And she's not done yet.

How do you spell victory? S-I-M-O-N-E. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

8. But when the training is done, Biles is a lot like us.

Well, as much as an elite athlete can be. She likes Zac Efron, she still gets dressed up for Halloween, and she's afraid of bees. She even ran off the podium when one flew in her face.

9. After gymnastics, she's thinking about a career in health care.

While many athletes of her ilk want to stay in the gym and work as a coach or trainer, Biles hopes to follow in her mom's footsteps and become a nurse.

"Which way to the lab? I'll point you in the right direction." Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.

The 2016 U.S. Olympic team trials for women's gymnastics get underway in July, and Biles is already a favorite.

Not just to make the team, but to win the all-around gold medal. Competing in the Olympics has been a dream of Biles' since she was a child.

After decades of work and effort, it looks like that dream is about to come true.

Watch Biles shine in this jaw-dropping floor routine from last weekend's Pacific Rim Championships.

True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Canva

I got married and started working in my early 20s, and for more than two decades I always had employer-provided health insurance. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka "Obamacare")was passed, I didn't give it a whole lot of thought. I was glad it helped others, but I just assumed my husband or I would always be employed and wouldn't need it.

Then, last summer, we found ourselves in an unexpected scenario. I was working as a freelance writer with regular contract work and my husband left his job to manage our short-term rentals and do part-time contracting work. We both had incomes, but for the first time, no employer-provided insurance. His previous employer offered COBRA coverage, of course, but it was crazy expensive. It made far more sense to go straight to the ACA Marketplace, since that's what we'd have done once COBRA ran out anyway.

The process of getting our ACA healthcare plan set up was a nightmare, but I'm so very thankful for it.

Let me start by saying I live in a state that is friendly to the ACA and that adopted and implemented the Medicaid expansion. I am also a college-educated and a native English speaker with plenty of adult paperwork experience. But the process of getting set up on my state's marketplace was the most confusing, frustrating experience I've ever had signing up for anything, ever.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep Reading Show less
via Lorie Shaull / Flickr

The epidemic of violence against Indigenous women in America is one of the country's most disturbing trends. A major reason it persists is because it's rarely discussed outside of the native community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women under age 19.

Women who live on some reservations face rates of violence that are as much as ten times higher than the national average.

Keep Reading Show less