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PLAYERS & TEAM EARNINGS

The Summer of Simone

The gymnastics icon’s personal brand has reach and potential unlike anyone else in her sport — and perhaps anyone at the Tokyo Olympics period.

Simone Biles is one of about 11,000 athletes competing in the Tokyo Games, which mark their official opening ceremony July 23. She’s one of 600 competitors wearing the colors of Team USA, and is one of six members of the US women’s gymnastics team.

But when it comes to pure talent and potential for greatness, both on and off the beam and the vault, Simone Biles is truly one of a kind.

As the best gymnast in the world — and arguably the greatest ever — Biles’ brand is booming so resoundingly that it’s redefining athlete marketing in Olympic sports altogether. And it’s about to take over Tokyo.

Get ready for the Summer of Simone.

The Biles Brand

Biles broke onto the scene during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, but back then was by no means the singular star of the show. Michael Phelps took those honors after winning a record 19th Olympic gold medal.

But these days, the 24-year-old Biles is a household name all over the world.

As one of the most marketable, bankable athletes in Tokyo, Biles’ brand is riding a wave of popularity unlike any other competing in the XXXII Olympiad — let alone all of sports.

A recent poll conducted by Morning Consult, “America’s Most Popular Sports Figures in 2021,” pegs Biles fourth behind Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James and ahead of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Steph Curry. The poll had Biles moving up 95 spots from her previous position in 2020.

NINETY-FIVE spots.

This massive vault in popularity comes as Biles has only begun to build her brand beyond simply being a professional gymnast.

She’s so much more.

Here’s a look at what it’s like to be in the Simone Biles business.

Perhaps her biggest brand breakthrough to date? Biles made headlines earlier this year when she announced she was leaving Nike to build her own empire at Gap-owned Athleta.

The move was a shock to the establishment, but Biles’ switch has proven to be the latest compelling case study in athlete empowerment, and a template for a new generation of taste-makers and entrepreneurs in sports.

“They saw confidence in me, and they just have such a huge platform,” Biles said of Athleta during an interview with the Washington Post. “I like how they inspire me in the gym and out of the gym — not just as an athlete, but as a person.”

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From Gold to GOAT

Not only does she own the most Artistic Gymnastics World Championships gold medals of any woman in history, but Simone Biles is easily the most decorated American gymnast at the World Championships overall with 14 total medals (10 gold, two silver, two bronze) throughout her career.

And that’s just scratching the surface.

In 2013, at the age of 16, Biles started making a name for herself after winning two golds at the World Championships. She followed that up with four more in 2014 and four more in 2015.

In Rio, Biles took home four gold medals, including the coveted All-Around, plus a bronze on the Balance Beam.

Since then she’s stayed busy.

in 2019, she became the first woman gymnast to land a triple-double in her floor routine, an otherworldly maneuver that demands repeat viewings:

Earlier this year, Biles became the first woman in history to perform the mythical Yuchenko double pike in the Vault competition.

It’s a trick thought to be sufficiently dangerous that no gymnast would even bother to attempt it.

And she nailed the thing.

And most recently, Biles’ GOAT status in gymnastics earned herself her very own custom emoji on Twitter, one of the digital age’s rarest symbols of brand icon status.

It’s like getting your own postage stamp before you’re legally old enough to rent a car.

That’s just the way it is. Simone Biles is synonymous with firsts.

And if things go as planned for her and Team USA in Tokyo and beyond, this latest first won’t be her last.

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