Rio 2016 Stars: Simone Biles

Omnisport
She may be small in stature, but gymnast Simone Biles has all the qualities to be a huge hit at this year's Olympics.

Rio 2016 Stars: Simone Biles

She may be small in stature, but gymnast Simone Biles has all the qualities to be a huge hit at this year's Olympics.

Sport: Artistic Gymnastics

Country: United States

Date of birth: March 14, 1997

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Career highlights: Ten-time world champion, including a record-breaking three consecutive individual all-around titles

Olympic record:  N/A

Simone Biles will make her Olympic debut at Rio 2016, and the girl with the beaming smile will start as a strong favourite to add to her burgeoning collection of World Championships golds with glory on the grandest stage.

Biles' love for gymnastics was first ignited when she visited Bannon's gym on a school trip when she was six - considered a late age to start out in the sport.

While copying the movements of the gymnasts, Biles was spotted by one of the coaches, who sent a letter to her home and the first steps on the path to a sparkling career were taken.

Adopted and raised by her grandparents after her mother struggled with drug addiction, Biles moved through the levels as a young gymnast, and made her bow in major competition at the 2013 World Championships in Antwerp as a 16-year- old.

She won four medals, including gold in both the floor and all-around events.

Five more medals - four of them gold - followed at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China, where the only real moment of uncertainty for Biles came during the all-around medal ceremony. A bee flew into her bouquet of flowers, sending her into panic, which saw her jump down from the podium and eventually take refuge next to runner-up Larisa Iordache, with the subsequent video going viral.

Biles made history at last year’s World Championships, becoming the first woman to win three successive all-around titles, and three more golds took her overall tally to 10.

She has since deferred her entry to American university UCLA to focus on her Olympic training - six days a week, totalling 32 hours and evidence that Biles has an inner drive to continue striving for greatness.

"Sometimes I don't really think about it [past success], just because we have to go forward. Once I look back at it, it's really cool and all the kids that look up to me is an honour," she said during an appearance on The Ellen Show in America recently.

Nominated for this year's AAU Sullivan Award - a prize given to America's outstanding amateur athlete, with former winners including Olympic greats Carl Lewis, Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin - Biles' achievements led the New York Times to describe her as "the best American gymnast since, well, probably ever."

Although standing at just 1.49 metres tall, everything points towards Biles becoming one of the biggest stars at Rio 2016.

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