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GYMNASTICS

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Simone Biles, ahead of her fourth Olympic journey to Paris, has made an iconic comeback to gymnastics. Overcoming the challenges she faced at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she battled the Twisties, Biles returned in 2023 stronger than ever, clinching all the major national and international accolades in gymnastics.

Her remarkable comeback has now been honored with the ‘Oscars of the sporting world‘ at the 2024 Laureus World Sports Awards, marking her name alongside legends in sporting history such as Serena Williams and Tiger Woods.

At the 2024 Laureus World Sports Awards, Simone Biles clinched the Laureus World Comeback of the Year prize for her exceptional performance in 2023. From the 2023 Core Hydration Classic to the US National Championship and the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Simone dominated each competition, establishing herself as an all-around champion. At the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Biles clinched a total of four gold medals in Antwerp, Belgium, along with one silver medal in the vault.

With 37 world and Olympic medals to her name, she became the most decorated gymnast ever. Adding to her achievements, she also earned her fifth signature skill in the FIG’s Code of Points, now known as the “Biles II” for the Yurchenko Double Pike. The 27-year-old, a three-time winner of the Sportswoman of the Year award (2017, 2019, 2020), now adds another statuette to her collection with the Comeback of the Year Award. So how does she join the likes of Serena Williams and Tiger Woods?

Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong have each won the Laureus World Sports Award for Comeback of the Year for their extraordinary returns to the top of their respective sports after facing significant challenges. Serena Williams amazed the tennis world when she upset top seed Maria Sharapova in a one-sided final to win her third Australian Open and eighth Grand Slam title in 2007.

This victory marked a remarkable comeback for Williams, who had slipped out of the top 100 in the world rankings the previous year and missed both the French Open and Wimbledon due to a serious knee injury. Tiger Woods won the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award in 2018 after returning to winning ways on the PGA Tour. Following four operations on his back in just over three years, Woods claimed his first win in 1,876 days at the Tour Championship, re-engineering his golf swing to overcome previous injury problems.

Woods, who was nominated for the Laureus Comeback of the Year in 2009, 2014, 2019, and 2023, joined the likes of Lance Armstrong, the inaugural recipient of the award, whose incredible comeback from testicular cancer to win the Tour de France in 2000 showcased immense strength and determination.