In the vast landscape of sports, certain athletes transcend the boundaries of their chosen disciplines to embody something greater, something that resonates deeply with the human spirit. Simone Biles, now Owens, is one such athlete.
Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty
Her journey, achievements, and unwavering spirit have not only redefined the world of gymnastics but have also embodied the essence of the cowgirl spirit within all of us.
As she secures her record eighth U.S. Championship, a title she first claimed a decade ago as a teenage prodigy, her legacy only grows stronger. At 26 years old and newlywed, she continues to dominate the gymnastics world. With an all-around two-day total four points ahead of the runner-up, Biles’ prowess is undeniable. Her return to the gym after a two-year break following the Tokyo Olympics reaffirms her status as the “GOAT” – the Greatest of All Time – in gymnastics, setting her apart from everyone else.
But Simone’s story isn’t necessarily an easy one. Her path and resilience will lead you to know how Cowgirl she really is.
Born on March 14, 1997, in Columbus, Ohio, Biles’ early life was marked by adversity and challenges. She entered this world as the third of four siblings, facing the difficulties of foster care due to her birth mother’s inability to care for her and her siblings. However, her story took a remarkable turn when her maternal grandfather and his wife chose to step in and care for the children. This pivotal moment laid the foundation for Biles’ resilient spirit – the same spirit that cowgirls throughout history have embodied.
Cowgirls have always been known for their fierce independence, determination, and ability to overcome obstacles. Biles’ journey reflects these very qualities. From a young age, she demonstrated an exceptional talent for gymnastics. Her commitment to her craft led her to make the bold decision to switch from public school to homeschooling, allowing her to dedicate more hours to her training – a testament to her determination to excel in her chosen path.
Biles’ gymnastic accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary. With seven Olympic medals, tying her with gymnastics legend Shannon Miller, and a staggering 25 World Championship medals, she has undoubtedly made her mark as the most decorated gymnast in the history of the sport. Her accolades are not just a testament to her physical prowess but also to her relentless pursuit of excellence, a trait often associated with cowgirls who conquered the untamed frontier.
The cowgirl spirit also encompasses fearlessness in the face of challenges. Biles’ decision to withdraw from much of the 2020 Summer Olympics due to struggles with “the twisties,” a temporary loss of air balance awareness, showcased her unwavering prioritization of safety and mental health. In a world that often demands perfection, her willingness to prioritize her well-being over external expectations is a beacon of courage, echoing the cowgirl ethos of forging one’s path regardless of societal norms.
Moreover, Biles’ perseverance through setbacks and her dedication to pushing her limits draw a parallel to the cowgirl’s resilience in the face of adversity. Despite facing hurdles, she has continued to redefine what’s possible in gymnastics, breaking records and achieving feats that were once considered unattainable. Her unyielding pursuit of greatness is reminiscent of the cowgirls who ventured into uncharted territory, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth.
In recognizing Biles’ achievements, it’s impossible to overlook her values and the support system that sustains her. Her family’s role in her journey – particularly her grandfather’s decision to adopt her and her siblings – mirrors the sense of community and interconnectedness often associated with the cowgirl spirit. Biles’ deep connection to her adoptive home, Belize, and her Catholic faith further emphasize her ties to tradition and the values that ground her.
Simone Biles embodies the cowgirl spirit that resides within us all. Her journey teaches us that greatness isn’t solely about medals and records, but about the values we uphold, the obstacles we overcome, and the indomitable spirit that guides us. Just as cowgirls of the past shaped their destinies, Biles continues to shape the narrative of modern-day sports, reminding us that the cowgirl spirit lives on, empowering us to embrace our truest selves and reach for the stars.