Simone Biles –
Discipline(s): Artistic Gymnastics
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio
Hometown: Spring, Texas
High School: Homeschooled (Spring, Texas) ‘15
Team/Club: World Champions Center
Coach(es): Aimee Boorman
- Olympian (2016); five-time Olympic medalist (4 gold, 1 bronze)
- Rio 2016 Olympic Games, gold (team, all-around, vault, floor); bronze (beam)
World Championship Experience
- Most recent: 2015 – gold (team, all-around, balance beam, floor exercise); bronze (vault)
- Years of participation: 2013-15
- Medals: 14 (10 golds, 2 silvers, 2 bronzes)
- Gold – 2013 (all-around, floor exercise); 2014 (team, all-around, balance beam, floor exercise); 2015 (team, all-around, balance beam, floor exercise)
- Silver – 2013 (vault); 2014 (vault)
- Bronze – 2013 (balance beam); 2015 (vault)
- Became the first woman to win four straight U.S. all-around titles in 42 years at the 2016 P&G Championships…
- Selected USOC’s Female Olympic Athlete of the Year (2014-15).
- ..Owns the most world medals in U.S. history (14) and the most world championships gold medals of any female gymnast (10)
- …Favorite event is floor exercise…Began gymnastics in 2003
Personal: Daughter of Ronald and Nellie Biles…Has two brothers, Ronald and Adam, and one sister, Adria…
Event(s): 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle
Birthplace: Houston, Texas
Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas
High School: Fort Bend Austin High School (Sugar Land, Texas) ‘14
College: Stanford University ‘18, Undeclared
- Olympian (2016); Four-time Olympic medalist (2 gold, 2 silvers)
- Rio 2016 Olympic Games, gold (4x100m IM Relay), gold (100m free); silver (4x100m free, 50m free)
World Championship Experience
- Most recent: 2015 – 4th (4x100m medley); 6th (100m free); 8th (50m free)
- Years of participation: Long Course – 2013, 2015
- Medals: 1 (gold)
- Gold – 2013 (4x100m free)
Personal: Daughter of Marc and Sharron Manuel…Has two older brothers, Christopher and Ryan…
Enjoys listening to upbeat music when working out and gospel music always motivates her…
If she wasn’t a competitive swimmer, she would be either a singer or dancer…
Hobbies include backing and cooking because it relaxes her…
Other interests include traveling, and collecting sunglasses and pictures
Sport: Track and Field
Event(s): Shot Put
Birthplace: San Jose , Calif.
Hometown: Red Oak, Texas
High School: Red Oak High School (Red Oak, Texas) ’03
College: University of Texas ‘17, Youth and Community Studies
Team/Club: New York Athletic Club
Coach(es): Michael Carter
- Three-time Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016); Olympic medalist (gold)
- Rio 2016 Olympic Games, gold
- London 2012 Olympic Games, 5th
- Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, 15th
World Championship Experience
- Most recent: 2016 – gold
- Years of participation: Outdoor – 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015; Indoor – 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016
- Medals: 3 (1 gold, 2 bronzes)
- Gold – 2016
- Bronze – 2012, 2015
Other Career Highlights
- 2011 Pan American Games, bronze
- 2006 NCAA indoor champion…Enjoys singing, baking, styling hair and makeup…Competed at the state level in high school choir.
Personal: Daughter of Michael and Sandra Carter…Has one brother, Michael Jr., and one sister, D’Andra…
Father, Mike, won the men’s shot put silver medal while representing Team USA at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games and also played professional American football for the San Francisco 49ers from 1984-1992, winning three Super Bowls and earning three Pro Bowl team selections
Source: Team USA Website
History-making Performances Put the “I Can” in Afr-ican-Amer-ican
By D. Campbell, African-American News&Issues
Houston– Three Gold performances at the Olympics in Rio by African-American women athletes from Texas present outstanding examples for Black youth and teens and should inspire many to dream, set and achieve even greater personal goals in life.
Olympic athletes Simone Biles, Simone Manuel and Michelle Carter have given youth hope that dreams still matter and that even in the face of challenges, maintaining a positive attitude and not giving up still brings winning results.
Each has inspired us by teaching valuable lessons about beating odds, positive thinking, dedication to details and also stirred discussions about racial and gender equality.
Also, coming from different backgrounds, stereotypes and challenges, these three Black women have much in common on the road to Gold Medals in Brazil.
Each path was paved with the same kinds of sweat, sacrifices and patience it takes to be a winner.
Words Inspire and Actions Speaks
From Spring, Texas, she is the first African American to win an all-around World title ,winning four Olympic Gold Medals and a Bronze medal, she is the individual all-around, vault and floor champion. Biles also was part of the gold medal-winning team dubbed the “final five” at the 2106 Summer Olympic in Rio.
She is known for many inspiring quotes, but most impressive is the way she has fine-tuned her life to be in sync with those words and her actions confirm her genuine commitment to them and to being a winner.
She is not intimidated by a small frame build at 4’8” tall. She believes she was built the way she is for a reason and has set out to prove that purpose.
“I was built this way for a reason, so I’m going to use it,” she said in numerous media interviews. “I’m out to prove what I’m capable of.”
This kind of determination has her led to many accomplishments prior to Rio.
Biles also is a three-time world all-around champion (2013–15), three-time world floor champion (2013–15), two-time world balance beam champion (2014, 2015), four-time United States national all-around champion (2013–16), and a member of the gold medal-winning American teams at the 2014 and 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
She stresses hard work, practice, dedication and surrounding yourself around positive people and focusing on positive things.
In one of her public quotes, she says, “Surround yourself with the dreamers, the doers, the believers and thinkers but most of all surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”
Her successes at the Olympics and before Rio undoubtedly are driven by an inner desire that does not run from the competition, but faces challenges head on.
“To go out there and prove what I can do has taught me a lot about who I am,” she says.”A successful competition for me is always going out there and putting 100 percent into whatever I’m doing.”
On her lighter side, despite her stardom, she is still maintains a kind, down home personality, loves life and having fun.
Modern Trailblazer- Social Pioneer
Maitza Correia and Cullen Jones had no idea how their past efforts and challenges in the sport of swimming would inspire and impact Olympic swimmer Simone Manuel.
Her talents were on full display in Rio as she became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic gold in swimming and set an Olympic record and an American record. In winning she finished the 100-meter freestyle in a tie with Penny Oleksiak of Canada.
“This medal is not just for me. It is for some of the African-Americans who have come before me,” she added in media interviews following her historic accomplishment and referencing former Olympians Maritza Correia and Cullen Jones. “This medal is for the people who come behind me and get into the sport and hopefully find love and drive to get to this point.”
Manuel, who is from Sugarland and graduated from Fort Bend Austin High School, is a competition swimmer specializing in sprint freestyle. She won two gold and two silver medals: gold in the 100-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter medley, and silver in the 50-meter freestyle, according to Team USA website.
In 2002, Maritza Correia made history when she became the first black woman to break an American record. She later became the first black woman to earn a place on the U.S. Olympic swim team, according to Biography.com website.
Jones was part of the 2008 US Swimming team that broke the world record in the 4×100 Relay.
However, before Manuel, Correia and Jones, Blacks were part of and endured the era of segregation and discrimination that discouraged Black involvement in the sport, according to Author Prof Jeff Wiltse, author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America.”Black Americans were largely and systematically denied access to those pools,” he noted. “…Swimming never became a part of African- American recreational culture.”
According to Wiltse, Segregation in pools ended in the northern United States in the 1940s and early 1950s, but many white swimmers abandoned municipal pools for private clubs in the suburbs where segregation was enforced.
After the race riots of the 1960s, many cities did start building pools in predominantly black areas, he added.
Manuel has benefited from that rich history and allowed it to motivate her to achieve her goal and raise her to the level of a modern trailblazer and social pioneer seeking to break down barriers for African-Americans and women.
“Coming into the race I tried to take weight of the black community off my shoulders,”she told USA Today. “It’s something I carry with me. I want to be an inspiration, but I would like there to be a day when it is not ‘Simone the black swimmer.’”
Manuel’s record of excellence started before Rio. She also holds three world records as a member of a relay team, and she is a two-time individual National Collegiate Athletic Association champion, becoming one of the first three African American women to place in the top three spots in the 100-yard freestyle event in any Division I NCAA Swimming Championship. Since 2014, she has attended University where she swims for Stanford Cardinal.
In sharing some secrets to success, she was quick to cite her faith in God, Phillipians4:13, her favorite Bible verse, and her commitment to maintaining her focus and training hard.
“…I train hard and want to win just like everyone else,” she told USA Today.”This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on.”
Confident Positive Image Promoter/Producer
Michelle Carter is the strong Black woman who preaches to youth and adults alike to never give up on yourself – a message that travels far and is as powerful as the shot put throw that put her in the 2016 Rio Olympics record books.
“… My focus is always to just do my best and I think that our competition always brings out the best in all of us,” she said in media interviews.
Carter won the 2016 gold medal at the Rio Olympics on the last of her six throws, edging two-time defending champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand. She became the first United States women’s athlete to win the event since the women’s competition began at the 1948 Summer Olympic Games in London, England, and only the second American to win any medal.
A U.S. Track and Field Media Release provided a brief peek into Carter’s competitive mindset as she competed for the Gold.
She focused on grooming her confidence and positive self talk and messages that steered her in the direction of giving her all and doing her best. Promoting that message helped keep her balanced, committed and ready.
“I wasn’t nervous because at the end of the day, I was able to bring all that energy to the middle and just focus on what I needed to do because if I get nervous, then I’m wasting my energy. I’ve been to three Olympics so, I hope I’ve learned something along the way. I was trying to pull from my experiences and just give it my all on my last throw.”
She knew much was riding on that performance because the world was watching and also prior to Rio, she had set a very public goal to win.
On preparing herself for that final throw, she said. “All I could do was just pray in that moment and think, ‘You know what Michelle, you have to give it your all, this is it.’ I just asked the Lord… I just want to give it my all, leave nothing behind, and I was able to do that today.”
Prior to the Olympic, Carter has an impressive resume.
She won the silver medal at the 2001 World Youth Championships and the gold medal at the 2004 World Junior Championships. She finished fifteenth at the 2008 Olympic Games and fifth at the 2012 Olympic Games, according to her biography on the Team USA website.
In addition to winning the 2008 United States Olympic Team Trials, she was the 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 National Champion. She also was at the top of her sport during her time at the University of Texas at Austin. While competing for the University of Texas, she won the Collegiate National Championship in 2006.
Her father, Michael Carter, is also a former Olympian and NFL star — the only athlete to win an Olympic medal and a Super Bowl ring in the same year. Both Michelle and her father hold the current National High School Record in the shot put, the only such father-and-daughter situation. Michelle set her record in 2003 while winning the Texas state championship; her father’s record has been unchallenged since 1979.
One of Carter main goals appears to be to continue using her own website to communicate positive messages and motivate young Black children and women to live health, happy, love their bodies and take care of the one body they have.
Carter seeks to redefine the notion of beauty and what black girls can do and hopes to inspire more girls to try the sport that opened to women in the late 1940s.
She knows she is putting together something special in the sport.
“I was built to do something, and that’s how I was built” she told the New Yorker.
“I think the world is realizing we were promoting one body type and there have always been many.”
Both America and the World witnessed the superb characters of these three Black women who enter the history books not only with the utmost respect from world leaders and peers, but also each has become heroes and a beacon of hope for a younger generation needing its own peers to inspire and guide them out of the ruts of negative thinking and hopelessness and point the way towards education, achievement and success.