Simone Biles serves as U.S.’ Closing Ceremony flag bearer

Simone Biles serves as U.S.’ Closing Ceremony flag bearer

Simone Biles will be the U.S. flag bearer at the Closing Ceremony.

19-year-old gymnast Simone Biles, who won five medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, served as the United States’ flag bearer at Sunday’s Closing Ceremony. 

As lights burst across the stadium, Biles walked alongside representatives from 206 other nations. The 4’8″ athlete seemed to struggle slightly as she she hoisted the flag. 

Shortly after Biles entered, various althetes from the participating territories joined the celebration.

In her first Olympic appearance at the Rio Games, Biles won gold medals in team, all-around, vault and floor exercise. A stumble during her balance beam performance denied her a fifth gold in that category, though she still managed to clinch bronze.

Only three other gymnasts have won four gold medals in a single Games, most recently Ekaterina Szabo in 1984.

Even before her performance at Rio, Biles was widely recognized as one of the world’s best gymnasts, having won 10 World Championships titles since 2013.

 The only other gymnast to serve as an Olympic flag bearer was Alfred Jochim, who did so at the Berlin 1936 Games’ Opening Ceremonies.

On Saturday, Biles acknowledged serving as flag bearer could prove challenging.

“I’m afraid the flag is going to be too heavy for me,” the gymnast said.

 

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