Gymnastics: Biles lights up Rio, Instagram and the Kardashians
By Alexandra Ulmer
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - She has ratcheted up a million Instagram followers, exchanged tweets with reality star Kim Kardashian and been splashed on the cover of major American magazines.
Teenage gymnastics phenomenon Simone Biles has vaulted herself to stardom with her bubbly personality and savvy use of social media - all while winning gold medals with the U.S. team and in the all-around women competition.
No stranger to the limelight before the Games, the 19-year old appears to have harnessed the Olympic spotlight to become a global sporting sensation, one cute Instagram post at a time.
"'Boa noite,' or 'Good night' in Portuguese,'' she chirped recently from Rio, posting a mirror selfie with fellow all-around women's finalist Aly Raisman in USA t-shirts, Biles donning a purple head wrap and Raisman buried under a face mask.
Already touted as the greatest gymnast of all-time, firecracker Biles soars during her moves - with one, a double layout with half-twist at the end, named after her - and has smitten judges, crowds and even her rivals during jaw-dropping performances in Rio.
That awe has spilled over to social media, with the Texas-raised teenager tweeting on Wednesday that she had surpassed one million followers on photo-sharing app Instagram and thanking her fans with an ''I LOVE YALL''.
Biles has also been raking in online praise from celebrities including pop star Taylor Swift and former teen idol Zac Efron, whom the giggle-prone gymnast has said she has a crush on.
"North is watching @Simone_Biles in awe!," U.S. celebrity Kim Kardashian also tweeted recently, in reference to her three-year-old daughter with rapper Kanye West. "She's rolling around on the bed pretending to copy her lol." Continued...