Simone Biles’ record-breaking exploits have been hailed by US president Joe Biden, who said the gymnast represents “the best” of America.
Biles, a 19-time world champion, claimed a record eighth all-around US Championship title at the weekend with a total of 118.40, four clear of runner-up Shilese Jones in San Jose.
The 26-year-old only returned to competition in Chicago earlier this month after a two-year break from gymnastics.
At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Biles suffered from “the twisties” – a phenomenon which affects an athlete’s spatial awareness – and had to withdraw from five of her six finals.
She subsequently took a break from the sport before she returned to action earlier in August.
Biles’ record-breaking exploits on Sunday, 10 years on from winning her first all-around US Championship, resulted in high praise from Biden, who hailed the American athlete as a “trailblazer.”
“When we see Simone compete, we’re witnessing unmatched power and grace,” Biden wrote on Twitter.
“Not only is she the first in history to hold all eight U.S. gymnastics titles, but she’s a trailblazer who spoke up for those who couldn’t speak for themselves.
When we see Simone compete, we're witnessing unmatched power and grace.
Not only is she the first in history to hold all eight U.S. gymnastics titles, but she's a trailblazer who spoke up for those who couldn't speak for themselves.
You represent the best of America. https://t.co/mwwVb5bjUZ
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 28, 2023
“You represent the best of America.”
The seven-time Olympic medallist became the oldest female US champion since the event was first organised by USA Gymnastics in 1963.
She is expected to bid to add to her haul of 25 World Championship medals in Antwerp in September.
Biles has not confirmed whether she plans to compete at next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.