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From Career-Threatening Injury to World Champion- Story of Simone Biles’ Biggest Rival Rebeca Andrade

Published 01/05/2024, 10:30 AM EST

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Imagine becoming the first woman in your nation to win an Olympic gold medal. For Rebeca Andrade of Brazil, this dream transformed into reality at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 2021. She followed this gymnastics success with vault gold and uneven bars silver at the 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan. However, behind the success was a career marred by injuries.

ACL tears in 2015, 2017, and 2019 would have given her every excuse to move on from the sport. Yet 2023 saw this fine athlete become one of the top contenders in gymnastics, and she also managed to keep the queen of the sport, Simone Biles, on her toes.

The comeback story of Rebeca Andrade

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In a post on X by a handle called Kaley (@yang_bo_dudnik), the account pointed out the immense growth Rebeca Andrade, the phenomenal Brazilian gymnast, has had. The account shared how, despite her major injury, “not only did she maintain her form, but she got BETTER after THREE (3) ACL injuries.” Andrade, along with coach Francisco Porath, have been cautious in the years following her third ACL tear. Picking and choosing when to compete and often opting out of the floor exercise since the 2022 World Championships. But at the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Rebeca Andrade not only made it to the podium for floor exercise, she won the World Championship title on the vault, even outshining Simone Biles. And that’s not all!

She also helped her country, Brazil, get a historic silver at the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium. At the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, she added another achievement to her repertoire by winning her first Pan American gold medal in vault. With her stellar performance at the World Championships, even Simone Biles gave her the ultimate title.

How Simone Biles passed on the torch in gymnastics

In Antwerp, Belgium, on the final day of the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Simone Biles and Rebeca Andrade once again made it to the podium together. After the floor exercise finals, Simone Biles secured the gold medal, Rebecca Andrade the silver, and Flavia Saraiva the bronze.

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Before the ladies could be handed their medals in an iconic gesture, Simone Biles removed the crown from her head and placed it atop Rebeca Andrade’s. The gesture symbolized the passing of the torch for many fans, as Simone Biles, the queen of gymnastics, hinted that Andrade was the upcoming queen of the sport.

Read more: After Bold Stance Against Injustice in Gymnastics, Iconic Duo Awarded Highest Honor for Changing the Sport

As the 2024 Paris Olympics soon approach and Brazil, along with Rebeca Andrade, have secured a team quota, fans await more such blazing and iconic moments from Andrade.

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Watch this story: SIMONE BILES UNVEILS ‘MEDAL DECOR’ AMIDST HOME RENOVATION CHALLENGES

 

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Written by:

Christaline Meyers

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Hello there! I'm Christaline Meyers, a Olympics Sports Writer for Essentially Sports. As an ardent lover of the sporting world, I've found my home in the dazzling world of Gymnastics, where elegance meets athleticism in gravity-defying routines. But my passion doesn't stop there; I'm a sports enthusiast with a taste for the wild waves of surfing, the adrenaline rush of Alpine Skiing, and the street-smart moves of skateboarding.
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Edited by:

Suman Varandani