Following a two-year hiatus from the sport, Simone Biles has returned victorious in 2023 as the most decorated gymnast in history, with 37 combined world championship and Olympic medals. And with that accomplishment, she has also become a beacon of hope for those struggling with mental health issues.
At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, as Biles was heading off to the finals, she developed a case of “the twisties”—a dangerous condition in which a gymnast loses the sense of where they are in the air and can suffer serious injury upon landing. Prioritizing wellness over winning, she dropped out.
It was during this time away from competition that Biles was able to address the trauma she suffered from convicted sex offender Larry Nassar, who was the USA Gymnastics national team doctor for much of her career. Along with other star athletes, she testified before Congress to ensure that future generations will be protected. And in 2022, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for standing up against abuse and changing the narrative around mental health.
Now at 26, she’s back on the top of her game and heading off to the 2024 Paris Olympics with GOAT status, being celebrated as the greatest gymnast of all time.