For Team USA, the Rio Olympics will be bookended by a pair of G.O.A.T.s.
That’s the greatest of all time: the athletes that have so surpassed their rivals that they stand alone at the top of their sport.
Just over two weeks ago, Michael Phelps carried the American flag into the Opening Ceremony, leading Team USA into the Parade of Nations. On Sunday, gymnast Simone Biles will receive the honor of carrying the flag in the Closing Ceremony.
19-year-old Biles entered the Rio Olympics already a gymnastics legend: four-time national all-around champion, three-time reigning world all-around champion, most decorated U.S. female gymnast ever with 14 total world championship medals, and first African-American gymnast to win the world all-around title.
She’s only the second gymnast ever to serve as the U.S.’ flag bearer, and the first ever female gymnast. Gymnast Alfred Jochim carried the flag into the Opening Ceremony at the 1936 Olympic Games.
She not only lived up to her reputation as the greatest gymnast that ever lived, she cemented it. A female gymnast has the opportunity to win six Olympic medals (team, all-around and four apparatus). Biles won five, four golds and a bronze.
After the gymnastics competition ended, Biles and her Final Five teammates stayed in Rio to cheer on other athletes and hopefully visit some of Rio’s famous beaches.
Michael Phelps entered the Rio Olympics, his fifth, with 22 Olympic medals; he left with 28, 23 of them gold. Now 31 years old, Phelps says that the Rio Olympics are definitely his last.