Black excellence

Simone Biles, the most decorated American gymnast, makes Time’s 100 Most Influential People list

HONOURED: Simone Biles

OLYMPIC GYMNAST Simone Biles has been listed in Time’s 100 Most Influential People.

It is the latest honour to be bestowed onto the 20-year-old who won four gold medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Simone, who is currently a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list earlier this year.

And with a total of 19 Olympic and World Championship medals, is the most decorated American gymnast.

Leslie Jones, a cast member on Saturday Night Live and a correspondent at the Rio Olympics, wrote the essay on Biles that appeared onTime’s 2017 100 Most Influential People list:

“I always keep up with gymnastics because I love the Olympics. But what struck me when I first saw Simone in Rio was how perfect she was at everything.

“That girl was born to do what she does.And she is the best at it. Not the best black gymnast, not the best black-girl gymnast. The best gymnast. It really is inspiring. It’s like she’s sending a message to everyone who’s watching: No matter what you’re going through in life or what your circumstances are, you still can be No. 1. You’ve just got to work hard.”

Simone made her gymnastics career debut in Houston, her hometown, at the American Classic meet, the start of a meteoric rise to fame. L

She was Team USA’s flag bearer at the closing ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the first time a female American gymnast had been given that honour.

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