AT AN AGE WHEN MOST FEMALE GYMNASTS HAVE RETIRED, SIMONE BILES IS LEARNING NEW TRICKS AND WINNING GOLD
THERE SHE was, atop the podium again. Even after taking a year off after the 2016 Olympics in Rio and revealing in January that she, too, was a victim of Larry Nassar's abuse. Even after creating a new vault and suffering through the pain of a kidney stone. At the world championships in Doha, Qatar, in November, Biles won five individual medals, including gold in the all-around despite two falls, and helped the U.S. women win their fourth world title since 2011. She also became the first woman to win four all-around world titles and tied Russia's Svetlana Khorkina for the most world medals by a female gymnast, with 20. (The American gets the edge, though, with 14 golds to Khorkina's nine.)
Though it's hard to imagine the 21-year-old has much left to accomplish, Biles had two notable firsts in Qatar. She added another half-twist (for a total of two) to her vault—a move that will henceforth be known as the Biles—and earned her first world title on that apparatus. She also took home a medal on uneven bars for the first time, a silver.
Off the competition floor, Biles found her voice. Her tweet about being abused at the Karolyi Ranch prompted USA Gymnastics to change to a new training facility, and her criticism of Mary Bono's social media posts contributed to the USAG president's resignation four days after being hired.
Biles has upgraded every routine she performed in Rio. If the last Olympic cycle is any indication, her biggest competition will come from herself as she prepares for Tokyo in 2020.