Olympics: Simone Biles leads Team USA at Closing Ceremony
It’s official – this year’s Olympics was all about Simone Biles.
The 19-year-old gymnast was given the honor of being the flag-bearer for Team U.S.A. during the Closing Ceremony for the 2016 Rio Games on Sunday.
Donning her white Ralph Lauren ensemble and joined by her teammates Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman, and Madison Kocian, the five-time Olympic medalist held the American flag proudly as she walked led Team U.S.A. for their final bow for the 2016 Games. (Teammate Gabby Douglas had already left for the U.S. on Saturday.)
Ahead of the Closing Ceremony, petite Biles admitted she was afraid the flag would be too heavy for her to handle.
“I’m afraid the flag is going to be too heavy for me,” Biles said in a press conference ahead of the Closing Ceremony. “Because Michael Phelps is so much taller and he seemed to carry it so easily and I’m very short so I’m a little worried about that part, but I think they’ll guide me through it.”
During the primetime broadcast of the Closing Ceremony, NBC joked that the long line of athletes filing in were held up because so many of them were busy taking selfies with Biles.
“They’re trying to get a Biles smile,” said one NBC commentator as an international group of fans grouped around the athlete.
It’s been a very eventful Games for first-time Olympian Biles, who won four gold medals and one bronze for artistic gymnastics this month. Biles scored the gold for the team all-around, individual all-around, vault individual, and floor exercise individual routine. She also won bronze for the individual beam.
Aside from dominating gymnastics at the Games, Biles also made headlines when NBC flew her celebrity crush Zac Efron to Rio to meet with the athlete after she racked up her medals. On Saturday, the gymnast asked Efron if he was still in town to see her carry the flag, but he said on Twitter that he had to leave Brazil for work obligations.
Biles’ meeting with Efron led to a social media joke with her “Brazilian boyfriend” Arthur Nory Mariano, who jokingly told Efron to “back off” his “babe.” Nory also walked in the Closing Ceremony, representing his home country after winning bronze for the individual floor exercise in men’s gymnastics.
The walk in the Closing Ceremony was especially nice for the Final Five as they had to miss the Opening Ceremony (which was led by flag-bearer Michael Phelps) so they could practice their routines. (Phelps himself had already left Rio after winning six medals to add to his record-breaking collection of 28.)