Is Simone Biles the greatest gymnast of all time? Many sports commentaries, historians, and fans believe she is. Better than Nadia? Better than Olga? Better than Mary Lou? Better even than her good friend, Gabby? The fact that all of these women can be identified simply by their first name is proof enough they are great … and, after her stunning performances in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Simone is certainly among them.
But the greatest? That’s still up for debate … and that debate is raging. Still, the fact that there can be any debate at all proves one thing – Simone is on fire, and the title of GOAT is within her grasp. So is the pressure that comes with that opportunity.
Of course, Biles eats pressure for breakfast the way past Olympians loved their Wheaties. Simone approached the highest of stakes in the Games as if they were just any other competition. Sure, she was going up against the best in the world, but if you want to be the best you have to beat the best … and Simone had been competing against the best on her own team every day of her life.
The very fact that the American team boasted some of the best female gymnasts in the world gave her a competitive advantage and helped calm her nerves. Of course, she could go out and face whatever China and Russia threw her way. She had to face Gabby, Aly, Laurie and Madison all the time. Bring it on!
That was how the young athlete with the million-watt smile began her ten-day Olympic Odyssey … which ended the same way so many other meets had, with Simone wearing gold and listening to The Star Spangled Banner.
So, she’s undoubtedly great; no one can argue that. But the real fame and money in gymnastics come with repeated wins. You can have moments, but you need longevity. Something that’s tough to come by in such a demanding sport.
Biles has to maintain her strong performance, perhaps even better it if she wants to be truly considered the best of the best. And she has to create moments too. Remember America’s Sweetheart and the Perfect Ten? Simone needs her own headline. Girl phenom is simply not enough. There’s one of those – an athlete who’s supposed to win – every season. Simone has to be more. Hard truth, but truth nonetheless. She can’t just beat the competition. She has to stand out … she has to be … and beat … herself.
David Milberg is a financial analyst in NYC with nearly 3 decades of experience in the finance industry. He is a long-time owner of Milberg Factors, a factoring and finance company with locations in New York, California, and North Carolina.