When people ask, “what’s Black girl magic?” all you’ll have to do from now on is show them the incredible routines from Simone Biles at the United States gymnastics championships this past weekend. Her performance was not only enough for her to take home the top title for the fifth time, but she also became the first American woman to do so.
After winning the all-around title at the Rio Olympics in 2016, Biles took much of 2017 off when it came to training. This has often made many gymnasts' return to the sport very unlikely. However, 21-year-old Biles knew that she could be victorious and prove to the world that she isn’t going anywhere.
On Sunday night, Biles became the first American woman to earn five national all-around titles since U.S.A. Gymnastics began overseeing the event in 1970. Not only did she win all four events at the championships—the first person to do so since Dominique Dawesin 1994—but she was also the oldest women’s all-around champion since 1971 (everyone else was in their teens).
“I didn’t think coming into the events this year I would do as well as I did,” Biles told the New York Times. “I knew I was capable of it, but I kind of thought I was going to be a nervous wreck.”
The entire time Biles competed, cheers from her fans and other competitors were deafening as she landed move after move.
Biles’s performance was not only athletically astounding, but her appearance on the floor also sent a loud and clear message. Over the past year, Lawrence G. Nassar, the former U.S.A. gymnastics women’s national team doctor, was sentenced in January to 40 to 175 years in prison for his abuse of young athletes, including Biles.
As a way to honor victims of sexual assault, Biles said she competed in a teal leotard, the color of sexual assault awareness and prevention.
What’s next for Biles? If the gold-medalist makes the 2020 USA team, she could be the first Olympian to repeat as women’s all-around champion since 1968.
(Photo: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)