At this point, everyone knows who Simone Biles is and where she stands in Olympics history. You know, a gold-medal-winning Olympian. That genuine one-of-a-kind, one-every-generation kind of Olympian? Basically the world’s best gymnast, male or female? Yep, her.
You know who knows it, too? Simone Biles. And she’d like to be recognized as such, please and thank you.
There have been plenty of sexist remarks at this year’s 2016 Olympics (but hey, who’s counting?). In the year 2016, world-class female athletes have faced some pretty harsh — and completely unnecessary — comparisons to male athletes. (Think of Katie Ledecky being named the “Michael Phelps” of women’s swimming.) Sometimes a comparison isn’t even made but credit is given elsewhere altogether. All of this also happens even in instances when the person used in the comparison isn’t in the same sport, in the same Olympics, or hey — even competing.
Biles, for her part, has shown nothing but a cheerful persona at the Olympics, relishing the fun in everything even when it comes time to competing. She’s received plenty of praise — yes. Yet it’s likely she’s caught at least some of this talk where the accomplishments of dominating female athletes are compared to men’s accomplishments. Or maybe she caught wind about that one NBC commentator who said of her performance on the uneven bars: “I think she might even go higher than some of the men.” You don’t say …
Just in case anyone else dares to make the same mistake, Biles made it a point to clear the air. She is not the “next fill-in-the-blank” athlete or the women’s version of whomever.