Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast of all time, and chances are high that she will win even more medals for the U.S. at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next month. Ahead of the Olympic trials, Biles displayed her patriotism in a cover shoot for Glamour’s June cover.
For the shoot, Biles donned a floor-length braid laced with red, white, and blue ribbon. She wore elegant dresses that show off her athletic physique.
The images and photos included in Biles’ profile were shot by photographer Kennedi Carter, who previously shot Beyonce for British Vogue.
Carter told USA Today Sports that the original idea for the shoot was to have Biles wear the American flag to show her patriotism ahead of her appearance at the 2021 Olympics. Carter said that she wanted to reference the aesthetic of America in the shoot, without having Biles wearing the literal flag.
"Patriotism has many different looks," said Carter. "I wanted to show that patriotism isn't just about a flag, but other things."
The photo shoot went viral on social media, with fans calling it the best Biles magazine cover to date. USA Today Sports columnist Mike Freeman noted that the cover, featuring a Black woman and shot by a Black female artist, is historical and “unicorn territory” in mainstream media.
“Black women are increasingly appearing on mainstream magazine covers after years of effectively being ignored,” Freeman said. “It's still rare for Black women to grace them and even rarer to have a Black woman like Carter shoot those covers.
Carter also told USA Today Sports that the shoot took place in Houston in April. "She was really nice, professional and about her business," Carter said. "Overall, she's just a very beautiful person."