Serena Williams penned a heartfelt tribute to fellow four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles for the 2021 Time 100.
2021 Time 100
The Time 100 list annually celebrates the most influential people of the year.
Biles’ dominance in the field of gymnastics and her social platforms, which include mental health awareness and being a leading voice in exposing sexual abuses in the U.S. gymnastics program, makes her an obvious selection as a game changer.
“What she embodies truly reflects the endless potential of Black women,” wrote Williams. “I wish I had her to look up to when I was younger and trying to realize my dreams.”
Full Circle | Being Acknowledged By Idols
Biles started her athletic career idolizing the incomparable brilliance of Serena Williams on the court.
Williams’ rise to the top of the tennis world — a world that has lacked Black faces — served as inspiration for Biles and an entire generation of female athletes who began to embrace sports that were historically and systemically segregated.
The dream inspired by Serena has become real life for Biles who is now recognized as a titan of sport, same as her former idol.
The 2020 Olympic bronze medalist has had an eventful couple of months in the spotlight. Her personal decisions and the way she has helped to humanize people’s perceptions of great athletes has kept her at the center of transcending sports conversations of late.
Biles created a social media firestorm when she bailed out of the Olympic team finals to address her mental health issues.
She was lauded by the general public for her honesty and for bringing light to an issue that affects many people. She also dealt with some backlash from the “shut up and dribble” contingent.
In true GOAT fashion, she did return to the Olympics to win a bronze medal.
Voice For The Voiceless
She recently gave a chilling condemnation of the FBI and its handling of Larry Nassar, a former physician who for 18 years as the team doctor of the United States women’s national gymnastics team had access to hundreds of girls and young women he sexually abused.
Biles was one of those young women, and she admittingly has been harboring feelings about the abuse she suffered all of these years.
Prior to the Olympics, Biles gave an interview in which she was pointed out how she came close to retiring. Her main reason for coming to Tokyo was to continue to shed light on the Larry Nassar situation.
Her hope as one of Nassar’s victims was to continue to put more pressure on Team USA gymnastics to do something to make the sport safer for young athletes.
Yes, she carries quite a burden at 4 feet 8, 88 pounds, and that’s part of the reason why she is not only adored and respected by fans, but also by her GOAT peers like Serena. Williams has been a Biles fan for a few years.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner also gave Simone a shoutout when the tennis legend’s daughter Alexis Olympia was just getting her feet wet in the sport back in 2019.
At the time, Serena said that she hoped her daughter can one day take a lesson from “one of the most decorated American gymnasts of all time.”
When Serena speaks, destiny usually listens, and the two GOATs both appeared earlier this week at the Met Gala in the Big Apple.
When Biles isn’t breaking records and breaking glass ceilings for women in sports by achieving unprecedented feats like the Yurchenko double pike, Biles does like to get out in the public and enjoy herself.
Black Women Lead The Way
The woman who has won 32 Olympic and world championship medals was looking particularly stunning, and some folks who have never seen Biles in anything but leotards, ponytails, and gold medals were taken aback by her mature and refined look.
It’s all part of a package that has easily made her one of the most beloved and socially responsible athletes of today.
“By living her truth so loudly and championing mental health, she is setting new standards of beauty, strength and resilience, breaking down today’s image-obsessed stereotypes and encouraging others to do the same,” Williams said in the conclusion of her essay. “Simone is a shining example of what success looks like when you let go of what the world thinks and gather strength from yourself.”
The beat goes on for Simone Biles who was also part of TIME’s 2016 Next Generation Leaders series and continues to be recognized for her commitment to people and causes that she feels her platform can help.