As if five Olympic medals and a kiss from Zac Efron weren't memories enough, Simone Biles is wrapping up her time in Rio with one last historic moment. Biles will lead Team USA into the closing ceremony of Rio de Janerio's 2016 Olympic Games on Sunday as flag bearer, making her the first female gymnast to ever carry the flag in an opening or closing ceremony, according to the U.S. Olympic Committee. The honor of leading the U.S. delegation of athletes into the closing ceremony is a fitting end for Biles' Olympic debut. The 19-year-old athlete dominated the competition nearly across the board to become the first American gymnast to ever win four gold medals at one Olympic Games.
"It's an incredible honor to be selected as the flag bearer by my Team USA teammates," Biles said in a statement released Saturday by Team USA. "This experience has been the dream of a lifetime for me and my team and I consider it a privilege to represent my country, the United States Olympic Committee, and USA Gymnastics by carrying our flag. I also wish to thank the city of Rio de Janeiro, and the entire country of Brazil, for hosting an incredible Games."
Biles' incredible athleticism and power (not to mention her ability to seemingly defy gravity) became apparent early on in the Games, making her a medal favorite in every event she competed. While all of the Olympic gymnasts competing in Rio showed exemplary talent, Biles just seemed to leap higher and flip faster. After helping the U.S. women's gymnastics team win gold in the team all-around event, 19-year-old Biles went on to take gold in the vault, floor exercise, and individual all-around events and a bronze in beam. Her performance in Rio had many calling her the greatest gymnast of all time.
Teammate Madison Kocian congratulated Biles on being selected to carry the flag and lead the U.S. team into Rio's closing ceremony over Twitter, saying it was an honor Biles "deserved." Actor Efron, who's Twitter flirtation and later surprise meeting with Biles nearly broke the internet, also tweeted a few words of encouragement to the gymnast.
Along with being the first female gymnast to serve as flag bearer for either an opening or closing ceremony, Biles will also be the first gymnast — male or female — to lead the U.S. Olympic team into a closing event, U.S. Olympic Committee officials said Saturday. Alfred Jochim led a delegation of U.S. athletes into the opening ceremony of the 1936 Olympic Games.