Times Simone Biles Shut Down A Sexist Comment

Simone Biles is a two-time Olympian and seven-time Olympic medalist who has won four gold medals, including one in the all-around event in the 2016 Rio Olympics. She's also a five-time world champion in the individual all-around event. Biles has four gymnastic moves named after her and she shares a record with fellow gymnast Shannon Miller for winning the most Olympic medals in the sport.

Far more important than any achievement she has accomplished on the gym floor is the impact Biles has made as an advocate and a feminist. In 2021, Biles testified in federal court about the abuse she experienced at the hands of Larry Nassar, the former Olympic team doctor for Team U.S.A. During her testimony, Biles identified herself as a survivor of sexual abuse and declared in part, "I don't want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete, or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured."

Biles is not afraid to step into the brightest spotlight to speak up for what is right. Whether it's during the Olympics or at a fun competition like "Dancing with the Stars," the gymnastics superstar will call out an inappropriate remark went she hears it. When it comes to shutting down a sexist comment, Simone Biles sticks the landing.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Smiles aren't why Simone Biles is the GOAT

Simone Biles competed on Season 24 of ABC's hit reality competition "Dancing with the Stars" in 2017, ultimately finishing in fourth place with her partner, dancing pro Sasha Farber. On week eight of the show, Biles performed a trio with Farber and Brittany Cherry that racked up 9s across the board. She also grand battement'd a loaded remark right off the stage.

After she received her judges' critiques, then-host Tom Bergeron said to Biles, "I was waiting for you to smile at some of the compliments...you didn't." The Olympian shrugged and replied, "Smiling doesn't win you gold medals" (via Inside Edition). Bergeron took the epic clap-back in stride and there seems to be no love lost between the two. "​​One of the fastest comebacks in 'Footwork With the Famous' history was not, alas, mine," Bergeron wrote in a 2021 Instagram post wishing Biles luck as she headed to her second Olympics in Tokyo. "That honor belongs to Olympic G.O.A.T @simonebiles, after I clumsily commented on her steely reaction to a favorable critique."

The TV host acknowledged his misstep, writing, "(what woman doesn't love a guy playing smile cop)." Days later, when it was announced that Biles would withdraw from some of her events due to medical issues, Bergeron honored the gymnast again on Instagram, calling her an "inspiration." "It takes courage to compete. It takes even more courage to stand your ground," he wrote.

Getting ahead of the comparisons to male athletes

Sexism was a theme in the 2016 Rio Olympics for some unfortunate reasons. Simone Biles' then-teammate Gabby Douglas endured racist comments about her hair. A BBC commentator called Majlinda Kelmendi and  Odette Giuffrid judo match a "catfight" (via HuffPost). An unfortunate Chicago Tribune tweet and headline described Corey Cogdell-Unrein, an Olympic bronze medalist in women's trap shooting, as the "wife of Chicago Bears lineman Mitch Unrein," as if the most significant way to identify a female Olympian is to identify the famous man she's married to. Using that as a jumping-off point, The New York Times ran a story about the sexist language used in Olympics coverage and beyond. Heck, Cambridge University Press even tried to figure out if the 2016 Games were "the most sexist Olympics ever."

Needless to say, we don't blame Biles for jumping ahead of any and all comparisons to male Olympians before they even began. After winning her gold medal in the individual all-around event at Rio in 2016, Biles said, "I'm not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I'm the first Simone Biles" (via Sporting News). Not only is this quote 100 percent accurate, but it's also an empowering and necessary phrase for other women and young girls to hear a female athlete say.

The pressures of being a female athlete

Simone Biles had to withdraw from many of her scheduled events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — which took place in 2021 due to delays caused by the global pandemic — to focus on her mental health. She was suffering from the "twisties," a very real condition gymnasts sometimes experience in midair.

"The twisties is a common phenomenon [that happens] when gymnasts are in midair and lose awareness of where they are in the skill, making it difficult to land safely," Today reported. In addition to being a disorienting experience, it can be incredibly dangerous. Biles tried to explain the feeling to followers via her Instagram stories. "It's honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind and body in sync. 10/10 do not recommend," she wrote (via CBS News). "What's even scarier is since I have no idea where I am in the air I also have NO idea how I am going to land." 

When her Olympic journey was complete, Biles told NBC Sports that while it is difficult to navigate the pressures that come with being one of the greatest athletes of all time, "it's harder being a female athlete because everybody prays for your downfall and wants you to mess up." She added that she doesn't think enough attention is being paid to female athletes' mental health. "At the end of the day, we're not just athletes or entertainment," she said. "We're human too and we have emotions and feelings."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

For the zillionth time, gymnastics is a sport

A quick Google search of "Is gymnastics a sport?" will reveal an intense debate about whether activities that are judged instead of refereed can be considered, well, a sport. "Gymnastics is not a sport because it's judged. Anything that's judged is a hobby. It might be physically demanding, but it's still a hobby," wrote Doug Elfman in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "Swimming, however, is a sport because the participants determine the outcome."

Hold on to your swim fins, because the GOAT Simone Biles has quite the retort. The gymnast who happens to be so great that she's added rhinestone goats to her leotards told Glamour, "I hear this a lot. But I feel like every four years, everybody tunes in to watch gymnastics." Mic drop.

Biles continued, "Out of all the sports, gymnastics is probably the most competitive. Right now I train 32 to 34 hours a week just to compete for about three or four minutes." As if we needed more convincing, she closed out with her strongest point. "It's all sports combined in one," she said. "You can't just be fast, you have to have agility. You have to be able to jump. You have to be able to flip [and] memorize routines. It's kind of all in one." Male gymnasts probably battle similar comments, but because women arguably get more attention in this sport, it's hard not to feel like it's a sentiment that's rooted in sexism. 

Simone Biles explains why boys are intimidated

While speaking to Glamour in June 2021 about the misconceptions people have about gymnastics, Simone Biles actually confirmed the "myth" that female gymnasts intimidate men. "I feel like at a young age, yes, because I feel like our muscles develop way quicker than other kids our age, especially in middle school," she said. "You don't see boys beefing up 'til [age] 16 to 18, 'til they hit puberty. But even before girls hit puberty, we gain muscle. So, we're typically stronger than the men in our age group. So, yes." Hey, that's science for you. 

Now, if those young guys grow up and the intimidation continues to linger, that's a whole different ball game (or should we say gymnastics meet?). Sadly, adult men tearing down and/or feeling threatened by successful female athletes is nothing new, but time and time again, stars like Biles prove they cannot be bested. It's as the old saying goes: Strong women only intimidate weak men.