Simone Biles Named TIME’s 2021 Athlete Of The Year

Simone Biles is TIME Magazine’s 2021 Athlete Of The Year.

Source: Steve Granitz / Getty

This pick comes after Biles pulled out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics over mental health issues, including the “Twisties”–where a gymnast becomes disoriented in the air, causing her to pull out of the Games.

Regardless of her struggles, though, her impact was greater than ever.

TIME Magazine writes: “As the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) in a sport that captivates the globe every four years, Biles is all about control. Her life is dedicated to micromanaging every possible element—her diet, her training, her sleep—that goes into performing, so when the lights are brightest, and the stakes highest, little is left to chance.”

“But for Biles, control isn’t just about winning; it can be the difference between life and death,” TIME continues. “She now has four skills named after her, each a breathtaking combination of daring flips and twists. Avoiding disaster requires a constant, firm grip on mental acuity.”

While Biles is obviously known for just how incredible she is at her craft, TIME named her the Athlete Of The Year in 2021  for her decision not to perform.

“If 2020 showcased the power of athletes as activists after the murder of George Floyd, this year demonstrated how athletes are uniquely positioned to propel mental health to the forefront of a broader cultural conversation,” the publication writes.

“I do believe everything happens for a reason, and there was a purpose,” Simone tells TIME in an interview. “Not only did I get to use my voice, but it was validated as well.”

Tune into TIME’s Person of the Year special on Monday, December 13 to hear more from Simone Biles about this honor.

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