Simone Biles

USA's Simone Biles reacts after competing in the artistic gymnastics women's balance beam final of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on August 3, 2021.


Olympic orature and poisoned chalice of sporting success

What you need to know:

  • Simone Biles, with her basketful of medals, most of them gold, from Rio and many other contests, went to Tokyo 2020 as a gymnastics “GOAT”.
  • Biles was practically a “no-show” at the Tokyo games, apart from a disastrous first appearance and a token performance where she collected a bronze medal at the tail-end of the events.

I was surprised to hear Simone Biles, the stunning diminutive American gymnast, being called a “GOAT”. I guessed that the name might have something to do with the folklore of Mediterranean Greece, where the Olympic Games originated. Biles, as you know, shot to prominence at the Rio 2016 Olympics, where she astonished the world with her near-perfect performance in her sport.


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