On the very same day she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar (September 15), Simone Biles leaped onto a coveted global list.
The Houston-based Olympian — considered by many to be the greatest competitive gymnast in history — has landed (somersaulted, perhaps?) onto Time Magazine’s list of The 100 Most Influential People of 2021.
Biles appears on a commemorative cover photographed by Djeneba Aduayom and is filed under the “Titans” section that also boasts Apple CEO Tim Cook, NFL champ Tom Brady, and more. Notably, Biles’ teammate Sunisa Lee also appears on the list, under “Pioneers.”
As with many of the profiles, Biles is profiled by a fellow superstar, in this case, tennis megastar/philanthropist/designer Serena Williams, winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles.
“She’s a master of precision, grace and dominance, and at the age of just 24, she has cemented herself as one of the most decorated American gymnasts of all time,” Williams writes. “But when she’s not on the mat or competing in front of the world, Simone strikes the powerful balance between humility and confidence—she’s enthusiastic yet stoic, believing in her strength, trusting her body and embracing her greatness.”
Williams notes Biles’ total of 32 Olympic and world championship medals, but also declares that the young Houstonian “truly reflects the endless potential of Black women. I wish I had her to look up to when I was younger and trying to realize my dreams,” Williams shares.
Praise continues, with Williams lauding Biles for “living her truth so loudly,” championing mental health, and “setting new standards of beauty, strength and resilience, breaking down today’s image-obsessed stereotypes and encouraging others to do the same.”
As fans are aware, Biles made global news when she pulled herself out of the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo after suffering from the “twisties” and also for her mental health. In a made-for-movies moment, she scored a bronze medal upon her big return.
Aside from the raw, emotionally jarring moments in front of the Senate, Biles has also made more upbeat headlines for her 88-pound gown she recently donned for the Met Gala.
Houstonians will get a chance to see her perform at the upcoming Gold Over American tour coming to Toyota Center on October 8.