Five-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles explained why her detractors inspired her to wear the goat design on her leotard

By Vanessa Etienne
June 15, 2021 11:09 AM
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Simone Biles is shutting down her haters with help from a bedazzled leotard.

During the U.S. Gymnastics Championships earlier this month, Biles, 24, picked up her seventh national title — more than any other female gymnast. While competing, she wore custom leotards decorated with silver rhinestones in the shape of a goat head, a reference to the athlete being dubbed by many as "the G.O.A.T.," aka "the greatest of all time." Biles recently spoke to Marie Clare about how the G.O.A.T. design came to life.

"The idea was to hit back at the haters," she told the outlet. "[The haters] were joking like, 'I swear, if she put a goat on her leo, blah, blah, blah.' That would make them so angry. And then I was like, 'Oh, that's actually a good idea.' And so that's exactly what we did and why we did it."

Simone Biles
Simone Biles
| Credit: Tony Gutierrez/AP/Shutterstock
Simone Biles competes in the floor exercise during the Senior Women's competition of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships at Dickies Arena on June 06, 2021 in Fort Worth
Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty

The first time Biles sported the goat design — which she named "Goldie," with help from her fans — was in 2019 during the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Kansas City. She recently told PEOPLE that the entire concept has been a "running joke."

"I don't think of myself as the G.O.A.T. and that's not why I wear the goat on my leo. It was kind of a joke in the beginning. I wore one in 2019 and it was just funny because the haters were so upset," she said to PEOPLE. "What we did is to kind of tick them off even more. So I was happy because it's like good, now you guys are annoyed because you're annoying me."

However, as the most decorated U.S. women's gymnast in history, Biles said she ultimately just hopes this inspires aspiring young athletes to embrace their talents with no regrets. 

"I just hope that kids growing up watching this don't or aren't ashamed of being good at whatever they do. And that's my problem: when people kind of harp on other people that are good at something," she told Marie Clare. "And it's like, everybody can say you're good, but once you acknowledge it, it's not cool anymore. And I want kids to learn that, yes, it's okay to acknowledge that you're good or even great at something."

Biles has continued to break boundaries within the sport, making headlines by becoming the first woman to complete the Yurchenko double pike in a competition last month. The five-time Olympic medalist is now documenting her journey toward the Tokyo Olympics in her new Facebook Watch docuseries Simone vs Herself.

The seven-part series — which debuted Tuesday — follows Biles as she prepares both physically and mentally for the Olympic Games after its pandemic-related postponement. 

"I feel like most of the expectations that are on me are from myself," she told the outlet of the series' title. "I've tried not to let anybody else's expectations impact how I go into a meet or my mindset. I still do the sport because I find joy and it's what I love."

To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer on NBC.