Simone Biles Broke a Major Gymnastics Record—While Wearing an Outfit with a Hidden Meaning
The four-time Olympic gold medalist honored fellow sexual assault survivors.
Simone Biles won the U.S. Gymnastics Championships while making a powerful show of support for survivors of sexual assault.
As the four-time Olympic gold medalist competed on Sunday — where Biles didn’t just sweep the overall competition, she also won all four of the individual events — she wore a light teal leotard. The color has come to signify survivors of sexual assault.
“(The color) is for the survivors,” Biles, who endured sexual abuse at the hands of disgraced former team USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, told the Associated Press following her massive victory. “I stand with all of them and I think it’s kind of special to unite (people).”
The last female gymnast to win both the all-around and individual event titles was Dominique Dawes, who accomplished the feat in 1994 — about three years before Biles, 21, was born.
“For too long I’ve asked myself, ‘Was I too naive? Was it my fault?’ I now know the answers to those questions,” she wrote, revealing the abuse in a letter shared to Twitter. “No. No, it was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG, and others.”
Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison later that month.
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After coming forward, Biles opened up to PEOPLE about the process of moving on.
“I feel good and I feel a bit of relief because I don’t have to keep it in anymore,” she explained to PEOPLE. “I have my family supporting me, friends and my group of people I rely on supporting me … But it’s not easy for any of us to go through.”
“It was a hard subject for me to speak up about,” she added. “Hopefully people realize that they’re not the only ones going through this situation. Hopefully I inspire them to come out and to not be ashamed about it.”