On November 15th, Amanda Gorman presented Simone Biles with the Original award during the InStyle Awards ceremony at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, CA. Gorman penned an original poem entitled “The Greatest”, to honor Simone Biles’ achievements in and outside of gymnastics.
“It is time we see Simone as far more than her 32 medals. She is a champion because she never settles for less than the rebel she is. That is what it means to be Biles bold, a beauty to behold at just 24 years old. She is such a treasure, her worth measures more than gold,” Gorman said on stage. “Simone has shown that power is from listening to a voice that is your own. That greatness lies not in if we’ve won but if we’ve grown, and that when one woman speaks her truth she is never alone.”
Gorman referenced Biles’ bravery for prioritizing her mental health during the Tokyo Olympics. She also honored the gymnast’s courage in testifying before Congress about the sexual abuse she and hundreds of young gymnasts have endured.
“Simone is a fighter, on fire, a survivor, speaking not a solo, but as part of a choir, raising up the woman beside her,” stammered Gorman. “From the very start, with everything, she brings her humanity, her humility, her hope. This above all is what makes Simone the GOAT.”
Biles said she was floored and honored by Gorman’s original poem dedicated to her. “When I was starting out there were people who talked about the way I wore my hair or how big my legs were — but I learned to block out the noise because after all, how could I tumble or have multiple moves named after me without the power in my legs?” Biles expressed that her achievements in sports were, to her, as equally important as “being a voice for the voiceless”.
Biles is the most decorated gymnast of all time. This award is a reminder that her power also stems from her voice, which extends way beyond the world of sports. Biles appears alongside Nikole Hannah-Jones and Lizzo in a special three-cover edition of ESSENCE’s November/December issue. Find her cover story “More Than A Medal” on newsstands December 14th.
Photo Credit: Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for InStyle