Simone Biles is awarded BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award… as four-time Olympic gold medalist becomes the youngest EVER to receive the honour with 32 gymnastics titles and mental health awareness contribution

US gymnast Simone Biles has been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award at this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year. 

The four-time Olympic gold medalist is widely considered one of the greatest and most successful gymnasts of all time with a combined total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals.

At age 24, she is the youngest athlete to be honoured with the award and the fourth American behind Martina Navratilova, Michael Phelps and Billie Jean King.

In 2018, Biles became the most-decorated female gymnast in World Championships history when she won four golds, one silver, and one bronze to bring her career total at that competition to 20 medals. 

The Texan continued to smash records in 2019 as she became the first gymnast in more than six decades to win five gold medals at the World Championship, becoming the most successful gymnast ever in the competition’s history.

After competing at the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021, Biles has won four gold, one silver and four bronze medals. 

The BBC have now recognised her success with the Lifetime Achievement award and Biles said she was thankful for the ‘wonderful honour’.

‘The BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award is truly humbling,’ she said.

Simone Biles will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award at this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year

The American is considered one of the greatest gymnasts of all-time with 32 medals

She is the third American woman to win it after Martina Navratilova (R) and Billie Jean King (L)

‘When I see those names who have been honoured before me I can hardly believe it. 

‘This year wasn’t quite the year I was expecting as I had to take a step back from competition to recover from an invisible injury. 

‘This was the hardest decision of my life, but I chose to speak out to show mental health struggles are nothing to be ashamed of. 

‘I want to thank my teammates, my friends, and my family who gave me so much love and strength. 

‘I will carry on fighting for what I believe in and for sport to be a safer place for young people to grow and flourish. 

‘Thank you again for this truly wonderful honour and what it represents.’ 

Biles had to take a step back from competing during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The Texan had to withdraw from five finals in Tokyo, explaining she had the ‘twisties’

All eyes were on Biles this summer as she headed to her second Olympics under great expectation. 

But, unfortunately, she had to withdraw from five finals, explaining she had the ‘twisties’ – a dangerous mental block in which gymnasts lose their orientation in the air. 

Yet, Biles bounced back to compete on the balance beam, where she won bronze, and secured silver in the women’s team. 

‘Very proud of Simone,’ Biles’s mother Nellie said. ‘Very proud of her achievement. Very proud that she is receiving this award. Unbelievable.

‘This is someone who has gone through a lot of struggles, like everyone of us, and this is someone that is not ashamed to discuss the struggles she has been through.

But the 24-year-old returned to win bronze on the balance beam and silver in women’s team

The US gymnast in action on the balance beam during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

‘What Simone is doing right now, is opening the door for so many, many people across the globe.’

Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, said: ‘Simone’s passion and dedication to gymnastics has projected her and the sport to wider audiences across the world. 

‘What she has achieved on the biggest stages has confirmed her as one of the greatest of all time to represent the sport. 

‘To also have four gymnastics skills named after her shows how much of an influence she has had. 

‘It’s an honour to be awarding Simone with the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.’ 

Simone Biles awarded BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award

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