Simone Biles's 20 Most Empowering Quotes Show Why She's Truly the Greatest of All Time

Legendary gymnast Simone Biles may boast a combined total of 30 Olympic and world-championship medals and a record seven national all-around titles, but she's more than just an incredible athlete. When Biles speaks, people listen, and it's because everything the 24-year-old says is truly inspirational. From surviving sexual abuse to persevering through a pandemic, Biles has never allowed anything to dull her shine. In honor of Biles making her second Olympic team — and, inevitably, giving an inspired performance in Tokyo — now seems like a good time to reflect back on some of her most empowering quotes.

Simone Biles on Owning Her Greatness
Getty | Laurence Griffiths

Simone Biles on Owning Her Greatness

  • On not wanting to be compared to men athletes: "I'm not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I'm the first Simone Biles."
  • On why more women should embrace their greatness: "It's important to teach our female youth that it's OK to say, 'Yes, I am good at this,' and you don't hold back. You only see the men doing it. And they're praised for it and the women are looked down upon for it. But I feel like it's good (to do) because once you realize you're confident and good at it, then you're even better at what you do."
  • On shutting out the haters: "They focused on my hair. They focused on how big my legs were. But God made me this way, and I feel like if I didn't have these legs or these calves, I wouldn't be able to tumble as high as I can and have all of these moves named after me."
  • On why she's not afraid to call herself the best: "It's not out of cockiness. I've won five world titles and if I say, 'I'm the best gymnast there is,' (the reaction is) 'Oh, she's cocky. Look at her now.' No, the facts are literally on the paper."
Simone Biles on Black Identity and the Power of Representation
Getty | Lawrence Griffiths

Simone Biles on Black Identity and the Power of Representation

  • On inspiring other young Black athletes: "I think it's nice to see so many people at the top that are people of color, because it gives you inspiration, motivation. But also in the gym, I think representation matters. Whenever you're younger and you see somebody that looks just like you, you're like, 'Wow, they're doing it. Then I can do it, too.'"
  • On the importance of Black role models: "Growing up, I didn't see very many Black gymnasts. So whenever I did, I felt really inspired to go out there and want to be as good as them. I remember watching Gabby Douglas win the 2012 Olympics, and I was like, If she can do it, I can do it."
  • On why diversity in gymnastics is so necessary: "When you see a team where everyone has a different ethnicity and you're the little girl watching on TV and you say 'I look like her,' it makes you feel like you can do it too. Believing that they can do it is what opens up more kids to the sport."
  • On the movement for racial justice: "We need justice for the Black community. With the peaceful protests it's the start of change, but it's sad that it took all of this for people to listen."
Simone Biles on the Importance of Having Fun
Getty | Emilee Chinn

Simone Biles on the Importance of Having Fun

  • On always finding joy: "At the end of the day, we train for so long to compete for two, three minutes total. It's like, Where's the fun in that? If you're not having fun, it's not worth it."
  • On enjoying the moment: "I think I'm teaching my teammates that they can still be successful while having fun, and enjoying the moment rather than being a stone cold brick. You can have fun and do well. Just let loose a bit."
  • On what success means to her: "A successful competition for me is always going out there and putting 100 percent into whatever I'm doing. It's not always winning. People, I think, mistake that it's just winning. Sometimes it could be, but for me it's hitting the best sets I can, gaining confidence and having a good time and having fun."
  • On her love of performing: "I love competing. Most athletes get intimidated once they see how many fans are out there, but it almost calms me down in a way because I think of it as a fun way to show off what I've been working on."
Simone Biles on Persevering Through Pain
Getty | Carmen Mandato

Simone Biles on Persevering Through Pain

  • On not giving up when things get hard: "I wanted to give up. But it would have been dumb because I've worked way too hard."
  • On going public as a survivor of sexual abuse: "For me, it was a weight that I carried so heavily on my chest, so I felt like, if I shared it with people, then it would be a relief for me. And I knew that by sharing my story, I would help other survivors feel comfortable and safe in coming forward."
  • On learning to prioritize her mental health: "I thought I could figure it out on my own, but that's sometimes not the case. And that's not something you should feel guilty or ashamed of. Once I got over that fact, I actually enjoyed it and looked forward to going to therapy. It's a safe space."
  • On keeping herself healthy: "Mentally, I go to therapy. But other than that, just surround myself with people who I love and who will give me good, positive vibes so that I can keep and stay healthy."
Simone Biles on Being Her Own Biggest Competition
Getty | Alex Livesey

Simone Biles on Being Her Own Biggest Competition

  • On not letting herself get distracted: "From the very beginning I've always focused on myself and not tried to compete against everybody else. Because that's when the mistakes happen and you're not worried about yourself, you're worried about other people."
  • On not letting her size hold her back: "[My mom] always told me that although I am small, that doesn't limit my power or define me. For me, I don't think about size — I focus more on being powerful and confident."
  • On setting expectations for herself: "The biggest expectations are the ones I have for myself. Others' expectations don't really bother me at this point."
  • On how she prepares to compete: "Before I go out and compete, my mom always says 'be the best, Simone,' but other than that, there's nothing special that I do. I'm just myself."