INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 13, 2016 – Olympic all-around champion Simone Biles of Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, has been named espnW’s Woman of the Year, topping the 2016 IMPACT25 list, espnW’s annual list of the 25 athletes and influencers who have made the greatest impact for women in sport.
Biles made history at the 2016 Olympic Games by winning four gold medals and becoming the most decorated U.S. gymnast in history with her 19 World and Olympic medals. She joins Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller and Nastia Liukin as the only U.S. women to collect five Olympic gymnastics medals at a single Games. Biles’ four gold medals tie the Olympic record for a female gymnast in a single Games. A three-time World all-around champion (2013-15), Biles became the fourth female gymnast in Olympic history to capture back-to-back World and Olympic all-around titles and the first since Lilia Podkopayeva in 1996. She joins Gabby Douglas (2012), Liukin (2008), Carly Patterson (2004), and Retton (1984) as the only U.S. women to win an Olympic all-around title. Biles’ victory gave the United States a fourth consecutive gold medal in the women’s all-around, a feat no other country has accomplished at the Olympics in men’s or women’s gymnastics, and its fifth overall. She also won the USA’s first-ever women’s vault gold medal.
“Simone Biles had a year like no other and made an indelible mark on the sports and cultural landscapes that went far beyond gymnastics,” said Alison Overholt, editor-in-chief, espnW and ESPN The Magazine. “We’re proud to celebrate her achievements and those of all the incredible women who made the list. The heartfelt essays contributed to honor this year’s IMPACT25 demonstrate how much these women altered the tenor of the conversation around women in sports and ignited our imaginations in 2016.”
As a tribute to the IMPACT25, espnW commissioned essays from family members, fellow athletes and contemporaries who know – or have been inspired by — the honorees.
In addition to Biles the IMPACT25 list includes: The Final Five, Angelique Kerber, Ashleigh Johnson, Claressa Shields, UConn Women’s Basketball, Tatyana McFadden, Elizabeth Marks, Helen Maroulis, Jessie Graff, Katie Ledecky, Nneka Ogwumike, U.S. Women’s Rowing Eight, Brenda Tracy, Hillary Clinton, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Jessica Luther, Kathryn Smith, Kylie Bunbury, Leslie Jones, Minnesota Lynx, Mira Nair, Monica Abbott, Robin West and Simone Manuel.