Dec. 27, 2019 – Simone Biles of Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, was named the 2019 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, becoming the first gymnast to be named AP Female Athlete of the Year twice and the first to do it in a non-Olympic year.
Biles won five gold medals at the 2019 World Gymnastics Championships – more than any gymnast at a single Worlds since 1958 – improving her career total to 25 World medals (19 gold, three silver, three bronze), two more than any gymnast in history. She has the mark for the most World gold medals at 19. During the 2019 Worlds in Stuttgart, Germany, Biles brought home the World title for the team, all-around, vault, balance beam and floor exercise. She also became the first woman to win each of the following at the World Championships – five World all-around titles (2013-15, 18-19), three World balance beam titles (2014-15, 19) and five World floor exercise titles (2013-15, 2018-19). Biles also completed two skills never performed by a female gymnast in competition, both of which are named in her honor: a double-double dismount on beam and a triple-double on floor.
At the 2019 U.S. Championships, Biles won her sixth all-around title, becoming the first woman in nearly 70 years to win six senior U.S. all-around titles. She now ties Clara Schroth Lomady, who won the all-around from 1945-46 and 1949-52, for the record. At the national championships, Biles was also crowned the vault, balance beam and floor exercise champion and the uneven bars bronze medalist.
Previous gymnasts to be named AP Female Athlete of the Year are USSR’s Olga Korbut (1972), Romania’s Nadia Comaneci (1976) and Americans Mary Lou Retton (1984) and Gabby Douglas (2012).
U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe placed second in the category, followed by skiing star Mikaela Schiffrin, who placed third, and WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, placing fourth. NBA star Kawhi Leonard was named the AP Male Athlete of the Year.