Simone Biles Champions Her Humanity—and the Sports World Is Better for It

The gold medalist turned the events of the Tokyo Games into a vital statement about mental health

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In August 2019, the impossible was captured on video.

Millions watched it, slowed it down, paused it to make sense of what they were seeing: a woman nailing a triple-twist, double backflip for the first time in gymnastics history.

To pull off the move, 22-year-old Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles had to complete two rotations on an axis running through her hips while simultaneously flipping from head to toe three times just before sticking a hopefully clean landing.

The name Simone Biles instantly became synonymous with “superhuman,” and expectations soared ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games—and only mounted when the Games were delayed by a year amid the pandemic.



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This story first appeared in the Nov. 15, 2021, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.