Biles pic

Simone Biles competes during the 2021 Olympic Trials in St. Louis. Biles looks to add to her gold medal collection in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Some of the world’s best athletes will be heading to Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Ahead of the games, staff writer Joshua Gingrich and editor Madison Hricik debate who's the most dominant athlete right now: Team USA gymnast Simone Biles or Team USA swimmer Katie Ledecky?

Simone Biles is the most dominant athlete of our time

During the 1973 Belmont Stakes, announcer Chic Anderson described the horse Secretariat as  “a tremendous machine.” 48 years later, those same words could describe Team USA gymnast Simone Biles. 

Biles is a machine — every move of her floor routines is carefully planned out and executed to perfection. She’s gracefully danced her way to becoming the most dominant athlete right now.  She’s widened the gap between her and the rest of sports en route to this year’s Olympics.

Biles began training at six years old and has been competing since she was 14. With every year, she seemingly keeps getting better and is showing no signs of stopping. 

Biles won four gold medals and a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and she’s poised for more golds at the 2020 Olympics. She also won 19 gold medals at world events throughout the last several years, making her an even bigger force in gymnastics around the globe.

What makes Biles stand out from everyone else is her longevity. While other athletes such as Team USA swimmer Katie Ledecky and New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom have become dominant in the past couple years, Biles has been dominating gymnastics for much of the last decade. According to a CBS News report in June, she hasn’t lost a gymnastics all-around event in eight years and is winning by whole numbers in a sport where the top competitors are usually separated by decimal points.

Earlier this year, she landed a Yurchenko double pike vault, which no woman had ever completed before. And according to People’s Magazine, Biles already has two moves named after her: A Yurchenko half-on with two twists and a double layout half out. 

So, at this year’s Olympics, the U.S. might pay more attention to the men’s basketball team or the women’s soccer team. However, pay attention to this machine — she’s dominant, and her software might not even be updated yet. 

Contact Joshua Gingrich at gingrihj@dukes.jmu.edu. For more sports coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports

Katie Ledecky remains the most dominant athlete in the Olympics

While Simone Biles thrives on the world stage in gymnastics, Team USA swimmer Katie Ledecky has been a stronger performer throughout her journey in international competition. Yet despite her historic career, she isn’t as praised as Biles.

Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Ledecky began her swimming career when she was six years old, alongside her older brother. Falling in love with the sport, she joined Nation’s Capital Swim Club (NCAP) as a year-round competitive swimmer. 

The world fell in love with her during the 2012 Olympic Trials. It was her first national competition — as a junior in high school, she competed in three events. At only 15 years old, Ledecky was the youngest athlete to attend the London games, securing a spot in the 800-meter freestyle with a time of 8:19.78. She later won the gold, beating her trials time by nearly five seconds.

Following the London Olympics, the three years of World Championships and Pan Pacific Championships displayed the development of Ledecky’s training. She went undefeated and broke American, competition and world records each time she hit the water. It didn’t take long after for the nickname, “the female Michael Phelps,” to be used when describing Ledecky.

It came as no surprise when Ledecky qualified for the Rio Olympics in 2016, earning a spot in the 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyle, along with the 4x200-meter and 4x100-meter relays. She became the star of women’s swimming in Rio and gained an increased level of notoriety for defeating Wales’ Jazmin Carlin by 11-seconds in the 800-meter freestyle.

This upward trend Ledecky held throughout her first two Olympic games grew into the standard for her performances. Fans now come to watch her with an expectation of total dominance in every event — and she delivers.

Ledecky swam for Stanford University before making her professional debut as a member of TYR Sport Inc. in May 2018. Since her contract signing, Ledecky has competed at the TYR Swim Series events throughout the last few seasons with the exception of the 2020 season due to COVID-19.

Now that the Tokyo games are here, the stakes are more important than ever. While it was fun to see Ledecky balance a glass of milk on her head during quarantine, the year off from international swimming has taken a toll on every athlete. She’s proven she can handle the pressure and can remain consistent, which is one reason why many fans aren’t worried. 

Ledecky has made her name known in the world of swimming, particularly within the U.S. Her performance during the 2020 games could be one of her last, but her impact and dominance in the sport will remain both in the record books and in fans’ hearts.

Contact Madison Hricik at breezesports@gmail.com. For more sports coverage, follow The Breeze Sports on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.