What are Simone Biles stats: records, Olympic medals, titles
Simone Biles will seek to become the first female gymnast in history to take five golds at an Olympics while also eyeing US and overall records in Tokyo.
Simone Biles is the biggest draws at the 2020 Olympics, filling a void left by the retirement of Usain Bolt and the absence from the US team of Sha'Carri Richardson, whose own pre-Games form had looked set to create a new sprint star on the Tokyo track. While there are plenty of big names and up-and-coming stars at the Olympics, few carry the universal appeal of Biles or the one-in-a-generation – or perhaps lifetime – talent that the 24-year-old possesses.
The gymnast is the most decorated of all time in the US with a combined total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals. Tokyo gives her the opportunity to break Vitaly Scherbo’s record of 33 World and Olympic medals to become the most decorated male or female gymnast in history. Biles will go for gold in six events but only needs to collect four to take Scherbo’s mark. She could also become the first woman in more than half a century to win back-to-back Olympic all-around titles after Vera Caslavska in 1968 and she will likely replace Shannon Miller (seven medals) as the most decorated Olympic gymnast in US history.
She has some way to go to beat Larisa Latynina’s incredible Olympic haul of 18 medals – 14 of them individual – with nine golds overall.
Biles to attempt Yurchenko double pike in Tokyo
Biles had spent 19 months away from competition before returning at the US Classic in May and the US Olympic Trials in June, winning both but surrendering the top overall marks on Day Two at the latter to Sunisa Lee after a series of uncharacteristic mistakes on the beam, bars and floor. However, she unveiled a new weapon in her armoury at the US Classic – the Yurchenko double pike vault, which no female gymnast had ever landed in competition before. Given her exceptional array of skills, it will take something special to dethrone Biles in Tokyo. Even Lee, Biles’ teammate in Tokyo, was forced to admit after the US Trials: “"I know it probably won't happen again.”
At the Rio games, a stumble on the beam cost Biles gold and the chance to land a total of six medals in a single Games, a feat only achieved by Maria Gorokhovskaya (7), Margit Korondi, Caslavska, Latynina, Agnes Keleti and Daniela Silivas.
The 24-year-old has not been beaten in an all-around competition since a meet in Chemnitz in 2013 and takes an aura of invincibility into the competition in Tokyo. Biles has the chance to win six medals at the 2020 Games, with no women’s gymnast ever managing more than four golds at a single Games (Caslavska, Latynina, Keleti and Ecaterina Szabo).
Latynina's record will remain intact in Tokyo
Biles was still a junior in 2012 when the Games were held in London and so has only competed at one Olympiad, in Rio. There she landed four golds and a bronze, which places her 23rd on the all-time list of female Olympic gymnasts. If she medals in all six events in Tokyo, her record will be 11 overall, which would place her joint-second with Caslavska (although if Biles wins four or more golds she would be outright the second most-decorated Olympic gymnast as Caslavska has seven overall).