Sports personality 2021: Simone Biles awarded the prize for life
American gymnast Simone Biles has been awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
Biles, 24, is considered one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, having won four Olympic gold medals and 19 World Championship titles.
In 2018, he spoke sincerely of being mistreated by team doctor Larry Nassar, who is now serving a life sentence in prison.
She has also been praised for talking about her mental health issues.
Biles said receiving the award for his career was an “incredible honor” and “truly humble.”
“When I see those names that have been honored before me, I can hardly believe it,” he said.
Biles was expected to win more gold at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, but withdrew from five of the six finals, saying he had to focus on your mental health.
He explained that he had “twisties”, a dangerous mental block in which gymnasts lose their orientation in the air.
Biles later said “I should have left long before Tokyo”.
Accepting his award, Biles said: “2021 was not the year I was expecting. This summer, I had to take a step back from the competition to recover from an invisible injury.
“It simply came to our notice then.
“At first I was expecting some criticism, but the opposite was true. The support and encouragement I received was overwhelming, and it fills my heart to think of those positive words.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues, my friends and my family, who have given me – and continue to give – so much love and strength.
He added: “I am very grateful to everyone in the UK who sent me such supportive and loving messages at the time.
“What I will always treasure, more than any medal, is listening to how I was able to help someone feel a little better.
“I will continue to fight for what I believe in, to make sport a safer place for young people to grow and flourish, and I will continue to talk about mental health.”
“An exceptional person”
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Biles spent much of his early years in and out of foster care before being adopted by his maternal grandfather, Ron, and his second wife, Nellie.
He grew up in Texas and introduced himself to gymnastics at the age of six on a field trip, beginning his elite career eight years later, in 2011.
Just two years later, in 2013, she won her first two world titles, adding eight more to her collection in late 2015.
He made his Olympic debut in Rio 2016, where he won his four Olympic titles as well as a bronze medal.
After a hiatus in 2017, nine more world titles followed in 2018 and 2019, and more gold was expected to be won in Tokyo 2020, postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But after suffering the ‘twisties’ he withdrew from five of the six finals, although he still won the team silver and the individual bronze.
Since returning from the Olympics, Biles has been open to therapy and is touring America with other members of the U.S. gymnastics team, but has not yet decided whether she will compete again.
“We’re extremely proud of her for the way she’s handled herself, the way she’s matured,” Ron said. “I’m amazed at how he behaves.”
“Simone is an exceptional person. She has great talent, I don’t know where the talent comes from.
“I tell people it’s a God-given talent and I always tell them not to waste what God has given you, because we didn’t give it to you, that’s for sure.
“It’s still amazing that this comes from our daughter.”
Her mother, Nellie, said: “I see Simone as an amazing young woman. This is someone who is still the Simone I met when we first met her.
“Simone was talking, Simone was expressive, she didn’t agree with everything I said. Simone had a mind of her own, Simone was defending herself and she has always spoken for her sister, so she will always speak for someone.
“This is still the person I know. This is someone who will speak when needed, this is someone who now finds his voice and makes it stronger and in what he believes in.
“This is a person who has gone through many struggles, like all of us, and this is someone who is not ashamed to talk about the struggles he has suffered in life.
“He has become someone who, from the athlete’s point of view, many people can relate to that person, and from a human point of view, many people can also relate to Simone, simply because, over time, , has made society believe in it and understand it from both sides.
“I think that says a lot to Simone about her strength, and she’s just 24 years old.”