Simone Biles practices spectacular floor routine at Tokyo 2020 Olympics | NBC Sports

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NBC Sports 22 July, 2021 - 02:53am 20 views

How old is Simone Biles?

Biles was born on March 14, 1997 and is currently 24 years old. She is the second-oldest member of this year's U.S. Olympic gymnastics team behind MyKayla Skinner, who will turn 25 in December. USA TODAYGet to know Simone Biles: Olympics star's 2021 schedule, age, career medal count and more

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Opinion: Next few days loom large for US gymnasts after alternate's positive COVID test

Yahoo Sports 22 July, 2021 - 05:00am

Gymnastics alternate Kara Eaker tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday following a training camp with US Olympic team. Eaker was fully vaccinated.

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What will happen now that COVID has made its was to the US Olympic Team USA TODAY

TOKYO – The biggest challenge to the gold rush for Simone Biles and the U.S. women comes even before the competition begins.

The news that alternate Kara Eaker tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday following a training camp with Biles and the rest of the Olympic team means there will be a nervous eye on test results the next few days. Biles is the biggest thing going at the Tokyo Olympics, heavily favored to win, well, everything, and the U.S. women are expected to cruise to a third consecutive team title.

They have to be able to compete, however.

If the last few days have reminded us of anything, it’s that the COVID pandemic is far from over, and being fully vaccinated does not give someone an impenetrable shield. Eaker said after last month’s Olympic Trials that she was fully vaccinated, and yet the 18-year-old is now quarantined, as is her training mate, Leanne Wong, who was deemed a close contact.

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USA Gymnastics says that its protocols at the training camp created a barrier between the alternates and the Olympic team members. Alternates roomed with alternates, sat on the opposite side of the room during meals and did not train on the same apparatuses at the same time as the Olympians.

Masks were to be worn at all times except when athletes were eating, actively training or in their individual rooms.

Those protocols seemed to have worked, because Biles and the rest of the team – Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum, as well as individual competitors Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner – were not forced to isolate as close contacts. The six women were posting photos from the Olympic Village as news of Eaker’s positive test was breaking, in fact, and did so again after their training session Tuesday.

“The entire delegation continues to be vigilant, and will maintain strict protocols while they are in Tokyo,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement Monday.

But the delay between exposure and when someone can test positive means it will be a few days until Biles and the rest of the Olympic team are completely in the clear.

Given how dicey COVID makes everything, you have to wonder exactly what USA Gymnastics was thinking by having the alternates train alongside the Olympic team. At recent Games, alternates would be sent to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s training site or some other location, and the closest they’d get to the team members was when they watched the competition from the stands.

Yet USA Gymnastics decided that now, when athletes can get contract traced out of the Olympics, was a great time to treat the entire delegation as one big, happy family. Alternates and team members alike training together, eating together and staying in the same hotel – what could go wrong!

Yes, the entire Olympic women's gymnastics team is fully vaccinated, and all athletes are being tested daily. But as Eaker’s positive test shows, no precautions are too great to take, especially given what’s at stake.

Should Biles defend her Olympic title – and given that she hasn’t lost an all-around competition since 2013, that’s a pretty good bet – she will be the first woman to do so in more than 50 years. Biles will also be favored to win individual golds on vault, floor exercise and balance beam, which would make her the first U.S. woman to win five gold medals at a single Games.

Lee will be a favorite to win the uneven bars gold, and the Americans are so deep that they are likely to pick up a second medal on vault, floor and beam. (It would be even more, but the International Gymnastics Federation only allows two gymnasts per country to compete in the individual finals.)

But, sure, go ahead and put all of that at risk with a larger-than-necessary traveling party.

This is not to suggest that any of the gymnasts are acting irresponsibly or not taking the protocols seriously. But the rising threat from the Delta variant, which is more contagious than other strains of COVID-19, means you could do everything right and still be infected.

As one of the star attractions in Tokyo, Biles and the U.S. women were prepared for the world to be curious about every last detail about them. Little did they know that would include the results of their COVID tests, too.

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Get to know Jordan Chiles: From nearly giving up on gymnastics to competing at Tokyo Olympics

USA TODAY 22 July, 2021 - 05:00am

Jordan Chiles, who once contemplated quitting elite gymnastics, joins training partner and friend Simone Biles at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

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The World Champions Centre in Houston features a majority Black elite team, a rarity in gymnastics, but a change Simone Biles and Jordan Chiles want to continue to see in the sport. USA TODAY

Jordan Chiles was destined for gymnastics greatness after finishing second in the all-around at the 2017 U.S. Nationals, just 10 years after she began officially training.

But after finishing 11th in 2018, she considered quitting elite gymnastics altogether. Her mom, Gina Chiles, told USA TODAY in early June that Jordan felt like the sport didn’t want her anymore.

That’s when Simone Biles stepped in, suggesting that Chiles move to Texas to train at her home gym under new coaches. Chiles graduated high school, and two days later she left her home state of Washington.

She’s found her passion since then, and it’s paid off with a spot on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team heading to the Tokyo Olympics.

Get to know Chiles prior to the start of gymnastics at this year’s Games:

She was born April 15, 2001, making her 20 years old at the start of the Games.

Chiles, nicknamed Chick, was born in Tualatin, Ore., but lists Vancouver, Wash., as her hometown. She relocated to Spring, Texas for training in mid-2019. She now trains alongside Biles at the World Champions Centre gym with coaches Laurent and Cecile Landi.

This is the first time Chiles has made the Olympic team, and she will be chasing her friend and training partner Biles in pursuit of gold in Tokyo.

Women’s gymnastics kicks off competition on Sunday, July 25, when all of the qualifying rounds take place. The women’s team final is scheduled for Tuesday, July 27 and the women’s all-around final will be a couple days later on July 29. Gymnastics at the Olympics will wrap up with three consecutive days of individual competition: women’s vault and uneven bars finals on August 1, women’s floor final on August 2 and women’s balance beam final on August 3.

Chiles graduated high school before moving to Texas to train with Biles and is committed to join the gymnastics team at UCLA. She deferred enrollment until after she returns from Tokyo and the Gold Over America post-Olympic gymnastics tour. According to her USA Gymnastics bio, Chiles plans to major in zoology at UCLA and should graduate in 2024.

Chiles had wrist surgery in November 2019 and didn’t compete for nearly two years while recovering. She returned stronger than ever, winning the all-around, vault and floor events and taking silver in balance beam at the 2021 Winter Cup. She was a bronze medalist in vault at the 2021 U.S. Nationals, and she cemented her spot in the Olympics with her performance at the Trials in late June.

At the U.S. Olympic Trials, finished third in the all-around with a final combined total of 114.631, behind Biles and Lee. She placed second on uneven bars, third on floor exercise and fourth on balance beam.

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Winning trust will be harder than winning medals for U.S. gymnastics team

The Japan Times 22 July, 2021 - 05:00am

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The most closely watched members of the United States Olympic gymnastics team in Tokyo will not be superstar Simone Biles or her fellow athletes, but the doctors and therapists hired to treat them as the sport works to put years of scandal behind it.

Following the 2016 Rio Games, USA Gymnastics was rocked by revelations of systemic abuse of athletes that triggered mass resignations, lawsuits, investigations and bankruptcy filings.

It also forced the introduction of long overdue health and safety protocols that forbid medical personnel, coaches, judges and other event staff from having one-on-one time with an athlete, and that will be visible in Tokyo.

“I’ve only been with the organization for a year and a half so I’m not sure what it looked like in Rio but with SafeSport being in place now we do have … prevention policies,” said Kim Kranz, USA Gymnastics head of Athlete Health and Wellness.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport is an independent nonprofit organization that provides sports with guidelines on how to provide safe environments for athletes and training for coaches and administrators.

USA Gymnastics will have a seven-member medical team — five physical therapists and two reserves — in Tokyo. “There are lots of rules now (they have) … to follow,” Kranz added.

Those include needing formal consent from athletes to treat them, using privacy curtains only when athletes are receiving delicate treatment, and having two adults present when there is an underage athlete in the medical area.

Many of the new rules were implemented in the scramble to fix failures in a system that allowed former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar to prey on hundreds of young athletes.

A year after the Rio Games, Nassar was sentenced in federal court to 60 years in prison on charges of possessing child sex abuse material.

The following year, he was also sentenced to up to 175 years and up to 125 years, respectively, in two separate Michigan courts for molesting young female gymnasts under his care, including Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.

But even as the current squad led by Biles — herself one of the many who were abused by Nassar — prepared to leave for Tokyo, scandal continued to hang over the sport.

On July 14, the U.S. Justice Department’s internal watchdog issued a report that sharply criticized the FBI for dragging its feet on investigating the abuse allegations against Nassar.

In between, there have been further disturbing revelations of abuse.

John Geddert, head coach of the U.S. women’s squad that won team gold at the 2012 London Olympics, was charged with sexual assault and human trafficking. He died by suicide on Feb. 26, shortly after court documents were filed for his arrest.

Other coaches have been suspended for verbal and emotional abuse of athletes, including Maggie Haney, who coached another Rio gold medal winner, Laurie Hernandez.

Kranz conceded that, while U.S. gymnasts felt they were in a safe and protected environment in Tokyo, it would take much longer to win back their trust.

“It’s going to take time,” she said. “I think they are seeing improvement but I don’t think the athletes are quite ready to go all in and say, ‘You guys are awesome.’ … It takes a long time to get that back.”

Asked if, given the scandals, top therapists and medical personnel were steering clear of gymnastics, she said: “My guess is likely early on that might have been the case but I have not seen that.”

There were plenty of qualified therapists lined up for Olympic assignments and prepared to undergo close scrutiny,” she added.

“We will vet the people who work (with) our medical (teams) very closely. … These are typically people the medical team knows but when it’s not we review their credentials, their work history, have had a background check and SafeSport training before they are allowed to come out and work.”

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Listen: Ann Killion reports from Tokyo on the strangest Olympics ever

San Francisco Chronicle 22 July, 2021 - 03:00am

And what if the star of stars, American gymnast Simone Biles, is compromised? Ann Killion reports from a nervous, unhappy Tokyo.

Read Ann Killion's first Postcard from Tokyo and her coverage of the U.S. women's soccer team's stunning 3-0 loss to Sweden.

Olympics live updates: Simone Biles trains in Tokyo

The Washington Post 21 July, 2021 - 06:00pm

Tokyo 2020′s stands sit ready for the fans who will never sit in them

The Australian swimmer who could unseat Katie Ledecky

U.S. coach ‘comfortable’ with unvaccinated swimmer Michael Andrew’s Tokyo routine

Simone Biles practices her Yurchenko double pike, the world’s most difficult vault

Men’s soccer competition opens with eight-game slate, no U.S. team

Why do different countries excel at different Olympic sports?

Organizers reveal Opening Ceremonies protocols, address testing numbers

Katie Ledecky ‘definitely has the potential to be better’

Twitter gives Simone Biles hashtag emoji of goat with gold medal

Australian Olympic Committee member orders Queensland premier to attend Opening Ceremonies

Director of Opening Ceremonies fired for past anti-Semitic remark

Organizers announce 12 new coronavirus cases, including four people in the Olympic Village

Top Russian swimmer out after positive coronavirus test

Opening Ceremonies show director under fire for past anti-Semitic joke

Australian swim star Kaylee McKeown scratches from 200 IM to focus on backstroke events

Tokyo 2020′s stands sit ready for the fans who will never sit in them

The Australian swimmer who could unseat Katie Ledecky

U.S. coach ‘comfortable’ with unvaccinated swimmer Michael Andrew’s Tokyo routine

Simone Biles practices her Yurchenko double pike, the world’s most difficult vault

Men’s soccer competition opens with eight-game slate, no U.S. team

Why do different countries excel at different Olympic sports?

Organizers reveal Opening Ceremonies protocols, address testing numbers

Katie Ledecky ‘definitely has the potential to be better’

Twitter gives Simone Biles hashtag emoji of goat with gold medal

Australian Olympic Committee member orders Queensland premier to attend Opening Ceremonies

Director of Opening Ceremonies fired for past anti-Semitic remark

Organizers announce 12 new coronavirus cases, including four people in the Olympic Village

Top Russian swimmer out after positive coronavirus test

Opening Ceremonies show director under fire for past anti-Semitic joke

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Meanwhile, more details about Friday’s festivities are emerging. Hours after organizers announced they had fired the director of the Ceremonies for a past anti-Semitic remark, they revealed that only 950 stakeholders will attend and flag-bearers and other athletes in attendance will be required to wear masks.

On the playing fields, the U.S. softball team earned its second consecutive win, 1-0 over Canada. Elsewhere, the men’s soccer competition is getting underway.

Follow along for live updates from the Games.

“It’s a big call … and I respect the decision,” Taylor said two days before the start of the Olympic swim meet.

McKeown, 20, would have been a medal favorite in the 200 IM, in which she was expected to battle Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu for the gold. Her scratching left the Australian team, which has its sights set on unseating the United States for world supremacy at these Games, without an entrant in either of the women’s IM events in Tokyo.

However, McKeown remains the gold medal favorite in both the 100-meter and 200-meter backstrokes. She is ranked No. 1 in the world in both this year and set the world record at 100 meters during the Australian Olympic trials last month. She is also expected to swim the backstroke leg in both the women’s and the mixed medley relays.

However, swimming that program plus the 200 IM would have left her with “doubles” — two races in the same session — on both Monday and Tuesday.

Walks through some of the facilities in the Tokyo Bay zone have uncovered soaring sections of steel stands with plastic seats silently waiting to be filled. Tucked in the seats of the sun-splashed Ariake Urban Sports Park’s skateboard facility, for instance, are special silver seating pads designed to cool spectators’ backsides that Tokyo 2020 organizers had hoped to pass out.

Who knows how long the pads will linger there. For the next week? The next month? Until the stands — which are temporary — are dismantled and hauled away? Will someone actually remove the pads? Or will they stay strapped to the chair bottoms as the seats are taken off to whatever place they go next?

At the spectacular three-on-three basketball arena inside the Aomi Urban Sports Park, the cooling pads have been used to spell out the name “Aomi” in a socially distant hope they will be used — which they will not.

Instead, it seems the Games will go on in the ghost-like silence of the bright blue, orange and green seats and the silver seat cushions designed to cool the behinds of the fans who will never sit upon them.

“I remember watching her races,” Titmus said, “and thinking, ‘This chick is nuts.’”

Ledecky has redefined the outer limits of athletic potential during her historic career, breaking convention with her stroke and her training and applying a sprinter’s mentality to her sport’s longest races, so it was inevitable that someday someone would come along — young, hungry and emboldened by her example — to knock her off her throne.

Based on recent performance, betting odds and popular opinion, it’s possible, even probable, that day has arrived.

Among those measures, according to Durden: Andrew has at times practiced at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre with “minimal” other people around.

“I feel very comfortable about what he’s doing, where he’s at, how he’s operating,” Durden said two days before the start of the Olympic swim meet. “Even today, he was over at the pool with very minimal people. And that was a little bit by his schedule. We’re looking at a couple things now as coaches: Trying to get him to swim fast, that’s our utmost priority for him. Continuing to have him feel safe, continuing to have the athletes around him feel safe. I feel good about what we’re doing with our precautions.”

Maya DiRado, a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team who is now retired, was critical of Andrew’s decision to remain unvaccinated, saying in a Twitter thread she was “disappointed” Andrew would put “even a bit of risk on his teammates for his own perceived well-being.”

Asked Thursday whether any of Andrew’s current U.S. teammates have expressed any resentment towards Andrew, Durden replied, “No resentment.”

No female gymnast had ever performed a double-flipping vault in competition until Biles did so in May at the U.S. Classic. Most of her peers do a Yurchenko vault, which means there is a round-off onto the springboard and a back handspring onto the table, but they only do one flip while adding as many as two-and-a-half twists.

If Biles successfully completes this skill in competition here in Tokyo, it will be named for her. She already has four eponymous skills — another vault, a double-twisting double tuck dismount on beam, a double layout with a half twist on floor and a triple-twisting double tuck on floor.

Biles will be the favorite to win the gold medal on vault, even if she doesn’t perform the Yurchenko double pike in the event final. During this training session, she also practiced an Amanar (a Yurchenko with a two-and-a-half twist) and a Cheng (a round-off onto the springboard, then a half twist onto the vault and a front flip with a one-and-a-half twist off the table).

All 16 teams that qualified will compete in eight games held at four venues: Sapporo Dome, Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, Tokyo Stadium and Yokohama International Stadium. All times Eastern.

Group play will run through Wednesday before eight teams advance to a knockout stage, which culminates with the gold medal game Aug. 7. Oddsmakers view Spain and Brazil as the leading gold medal favorites in the competition for under-23 squads.

The women’s soccer competition opened Wednesday, when the United States lost, 3-0, to Sweden in its opener. The U.S. men’s team failed to qualify for the Games.

Yes, the superpowers crush the overall medal count, but drill deeper and you’ll find plenty of odd and interesting examples of Olympic domination, especially in sports U.S. viewers rarely see in prime time.

Who will dominate what, and why? The clues are often in the history of the country, and the sport.

With the Opening Ceremonies set for Friday, organizers said 32,000 athletes and stakeholders have arrived in Japan, with 20 positive tests received at local airports. Organizers said that the 0.06 percent positivity rate, which they asserted was well below the typical rate of 0.4 percent, could be attributed to mandatory pre-travel testing and vaccinations.

Now that athletes, foreign media members and other stakeholders are in town, the organizers said 96,000 screening tests have been conducted, resulting in 87 positives. Fifty-two of the positives were registered by Japanese citizens, including domestic staffers and contractors, while 35 came from overseas.

“We still have to accept that positive cases will exist,” Tokyo 2020 official Hidemasa Nakamura said. “The pandemic is still not over. We have to identify positive cases and isolate them.”

Tokyo 2020 made the decision to ban crowds from the athletic events earlier this month, and the first Olympic events, including softball and women’s soccer, have indeed taken place in near-empty stadiums. Organizers said they expected that just 950 stakeholders will attend the Opening Ceremonies, adding that flag-bearers and other athletes in attendance will be required to wear masks and adhere to social distancing policies.

“Even though it’s the Opening Ceremonies, we’re going to take thorough measures,” Nakamura said.

When athletes have tested positive for the coronavirus, organizers said that their teammates and staff members have followed protocols that require those who have come into close contact with the infected individual to quarantine in private rooms, eat meals by themselves and undergo daily testing.

She enters the Tokyo Games with enormous expectations, based on not just her accomplishments but all of the possibilities.

“Katie definitely has the potential to be better,” said Russell Mark, the high performance manager for USA Swimming. “She is a more thoughtful, more aware athlete right now, you know, in her early 20s and just more aware of her body, more aware technically, more aware in the weight room.”

Chasing five Olympic medals — possibly even six — over eight days, Ledecky will try to show how much faster she is, and the rest of the swimming world, left gurgling water in her wake, will try to figure out how she does it.

Ledecky will tackle a range of distances no one else in Tokyo would dare attempt. No other swimmer at these Games will swim the 200 meters and also the 1,500, just as no track runner would consider sprinting a short distance and also grinding out a mile.

The custom emoji, which shows a goat sporting a gold medal while leaping in a red leotard, can be unlocked by using the hashtags #SimoneBiles or #Simone in a tweet. The emoji is reportedly the first of its kind bestowed by Twitter upon an Olympic or female athlete. Previous sports stars so honored have included champion NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes.

Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist who is the most decorated U.S. gymnast in history, has leaned into the acclaim she has received as the GOAT (greatest of all time) in her sport. Since 2019, she has occasionally worn leotards in competitions adorned with a goat design, which she has nicknamed “Goldie.”

Biles, 24, told People last month that she doesn’t wear a goat on her leotards for self-aggrandizing reasons but rather to “hit back at the haters.”

Unnamed critics of Biles, she said then, “were joking like, ‘I swear, if she put a goat on her leo, blah, blah, blah.’ That would make them so angry.

“And then I was like, ‘Oh, that’s actually a good idea.’ And so that’s exactly what we did and why we did it,” she continued. Biles added that she doesn’t think of herself as the GOAT but that what was “kind of a joke in the beginning” eventually took on a life of its own.

Biles is coming off her seventh win in the all-around at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, and she is favored for another haul of hardware in Tokyo. Her four golds, plus a bronze, all came at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Coates, 71, insisted that Palaszczuk attend the ceremonies, which are set for Friday. Brisbane is the capital of Queensland.

“You are going to the Opening Ceremony,” Coates said, turning to Palaszczuk, who was seated next to him. “So far as I understand, there will be an Opening and Closing Ceremony in 2032. All of you will get along and understand the traditional parts in that, what’s involved in an Opening Ceremony. None of you are staying behind and hiding in your rooms.”

Palaszczuk, 51, was clearly uncomfortable with Coates’s tone and avoided a direct reply by saying that she “[didn’t] want to offend anybody.”

“You’ve never been to an Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Games, have you? You don’t know the protocols,” he said. “I think it’s a very important lesson for everyone here. The Opening Ceremonies cost on the order of $75 to $100 million dollars. That’s a major exercise for any organizing committee. It puts the stamp on the Games. It’s very important to the broadcast.”

A clip of the exchange went viral in Australia, with Coates drawing condemnation from Australian athletes, including women’s soccer play Elise Kellond-Knight, who wrote on Twitter that it was an “embarrassing” display.

ABC News in Australia reported Thursday that an Australian delegation would attend the Opening Ceremonies and that Palaszczuk downplayed the exchange in a television interview.

“He’s fantastic,” Palaszczuk told ABC. “If we didn’t have John Coates, this would not have happened. John Coates has been the driving force behind us securing the Olympics.”

Tokyo2020 President Seiko Hashimoto said at a news conference here Thursday that the organization had dismissed Kentaro Kobayashi over anti-Semitic comments he made during a stand-up comedy routine nearly a quarter-century ago.

“I think all to the people who are involved, also the Japanese public, I’d like to extend my sincere apology,” Hashimoto said.

Hashimoto read a statement from Kobayashi, who was to oversee all the elements of Ceremonies that are expected to last four hours.

“Looking back, I was not able to bring the smiles to the people, so that’s why I was not really thinking deep,” Hashimoto said through an interpreter, reading words she attributed to Kobayashi. “But I was actually making fun of the historical facts, and after that I regretted it.”

Kobayashi’s dismissal comes just two days after Keigo Oyamada, the composer of the music for the Ceremonies, resigned following revelations that he had bullied classmates with disabilities in the 1990s.

Eight athletes have now tested positive since arriving in Tokyo for the Games. The 12 new cases Thursday are the second most officials have announced in a day since July 1.

Six contractors who live in Japan were among the new cases, along with two others who are considered “Games-concerned personnel” and were not living in the Village.

The Russian Swimming Federation announced the news Wednesday, stating that the 18-year-old Borodin learned of his positive result while at a training camp in Vladivostok, located near Japan on Russia’s southeastern coastline.

The federation said that the team with Borodin at the time followed rules regarding self-quarantine, and that all other athletes, coaches and staff members have tested negative.

In winning the European title at a meet two months ago in Budapest, Borodin set a world junior record in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:10.02. American Michael Phelps holds the senior world record of 4:03.84, set at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

GOAT #SimoneBiles gets her own Twitter EMOJI

Daily Mail 21 July, 2021 - 02:43pm

By Carly Stern For Dailymail.com

Simone Biles is getting her very own Twitter emoji — and appropriately enough, it's a goat.

The 24-year-old Olympian — who is considered by many sports fans to be the G.O.A.T: Greatest of All Time — has been honored an emoji of a goat wearing a leotard and a gold medal while doing a split on the social media platform.

The custom emoji will show up whenever a Twitter user employs the hashtags #SimoneBiles or #Simone now through August 8.

The move makes her the first Olympian to get a custom emoji, and the first female athlete to get her own GOAT emoji on Twitter.

Simone Biles is getting her very own Twitter emoji — and appropriately enough, it's a goat

The 24-year-old — who is considered by many to be the G.O.A.T: Greatest of All Time — has been honored an emoji of a goat wearing a leotard and a gold medal while doing a split

Twitter has given athletes GOAT emojis in the past, but digital distinction had previously held by men, like NFL stars Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. 

Simone's special emoji comes as she herself has embraced the GOAT label with bedazzled goats on her leotards. 

Biles debuted her bedazzled goat at the the 2021 GK U.S. Classic gymnastics competition at the Indiana Convention Center on May 22, flaunting the blinged-out animal on the back of her leotard.

She wore another on her shoulder at the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Championships at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas on June 04, and another on her waist at the same competition two days later. 

She dubbed her little mascot Goldie the Goat, and now Goldie's gotten the emoji treatment. 

'Witness greatness. Tweet with greatness,' wrote the official Twitter Sports account, announcing the news.

The custom emoji will show up whenever a Twitter user employs the hashtags #SimoneBiles or #Simone now through August 8, and fans are already using it

Fans clearly approve, with admirers flooding Twitter to share their excitement and calling the emoji 'awesome' and 'so cute' 

'Such a fire hashtag emoji,' wrote one.

'Big fan of the new #simonebiles GOAT emoji! She couldn't be more deserving,' added another. 

While the gymnastics superstar has embraced the icon, she explained to Marie Claire that Goldie the Goat was less a boast and more a way to troll her 'haters,' whom she knew would get riled up when they saw it.

'The idea was to hit back at the haters,' Biles explained.

'I didn't feel like it was necessarily fair how they could keep saying whatever they wanted, but then if I said something, it wasn't fair. [The haters] were joking like, "I swear, if she put a goat on her leo, blah, blah, blah." That would make them so angry. 

Simone has been adorning her leotards with a little bedazzled goat, which she has nicknamed Goldie

Biles explained that Goldie the Goat was less a boast, and more a way to troll her 'haters' — because she knew it 'would make them so angry'

She paid tribute on her flight to Tokyo, snapping a picture with a Goldie-emblazoned blanket

'And then I was like, "Oh, that's actually a good idea. Let's make the haters hate it, and the fans love it." And so that's exactly what we did and why we did it,' she said.

The star also stressed the importance of people being proud of their accomplishments. 

'I just hope that kids growing up watching this don't or aren't ashamed of being good at whatever they do,' she said. 

'And that's my problem: when people kind of harp on other people that are good at something. And it's like, everybody can say you're good, but once you acknowledge it, it's not cool anymore. And I want kids to learn that, yes, it's okay to acknowledge that you're good or even great at something.' 

Speaking to People, she later added: 'I don't think of myself as the G.O.A.T. and that's not why I wear the goat on my leo. It was kind of a joke in the beginning. I wore one in 2019 and it was just funny because the haters were so upset.

'What we did is to kind of tick them off even more. So I was happy because it's like good, now you guys are annoyed because you're annoying me.' 

'[The haters] were joking like, "I swear, if she put a goat on her leo, blah, blah, blah,"' she said. 'And then I was like, "Oh, that's actually a good idea"'

'I just hope that kids growing up watching this don't or aren't ashamed of being good at whatever they do,' she said

She's worn a bedazzled goat on three different leotards in recent competitions 

It's as yet unknown whether the star will wear Goldie leotards at the Olympics, but she did pay tribute on her flight to Tokyo, snapping a picture with a Goldie-emblazoned blanket. 

The star gave an enthusiastic wave when she stepped off the plane at Narita International Airport in Japan last week wearing a cozy tie-dye sweatshirt, black leggings, and a mask. 

Biles opened up to Good Morning America about representing the US at her second Olympics, saying: 'It means the world to me. I did it in 2016 at various times for World Championships, so to have another opportunity, it's just amazing.'

However, things are certainly different this time around due to the COVID-19 protocols, which ban spectators in the stands — including the competitors' families — among other rules.  

'We've had a lot of calls because COVID protocols will be different for an Olympic Games, as we've seen in previous seasons of all different sports so far this year,' she said. 'As for the crowd, that'll be super weird because it'll kind of be like training. We've never done that as well either. So it'll be a different experience, but we're ready for whatever they throw at us.'

Biles explained that this is the first time she is traveling and competing by herself — without her family supporting her in the stands.   

'I honestly have never done a competition without my parents there, so I'm a little bit nervous, but I know they'll be there in spirit,' she said. 'My mom is like, "Please FaceTime me before." So I'm sure she'll be calling me as we get ready because they'll be up already and ready to watch.'

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