Simone Biles' 'Little Miss' meme is a bittersweet reminder.

Simone Biles’ Little Miss Meme Is The Ultimate GOAT Move


Tim Clayton - Corbis/Corbis Sport/Getty Images

The Little Miss meme trend that’s been going around has made such a splash that even Olympic gold-medalist Simone Biles got in on the action — but the message is more bittersweet than LOL. On July 28, the 25-year-old Olympic gymnast took to Twitter to send out her contribution to the meme, and Simone Biles’ Little Miss meme is a tough reminder of the situation she faced at the 2021 Olympics. But here’s why her perfect execution of the meme (and her candid approach to mental health) is a total GOAT move.

In case you need a refresher, after Biles experiences a gymnastics phenomenon called “the twisties” at the 2021 Tokyo Games, the superstar athlete made the difficult choice to withdraw from a number of events, including the gymnastics women’s team final, in an attempt to prioritize her mental health. While she received plenty of support from her teammates, the decision to remove herself led to knee-jerk reactions from some fans. Biles reflected on the experience in a September 2021 interview with The Cut, sharing, “Sometimes it’s like, yeah, I’m perfectly okay with it ... and then other times I’ll just start bawling in the house.” Biles also told the publication that “it was a miracle [she] landed on [her] feet,” after experiencing the aforementioned “twisties” phenomenon that makes you lose your mind-body connection. Biles was an advocate for mental health and listening to your body when she left the Tokyo Games in July 2021, but the reaction wasn’t all rosy.

She nods to that in her meme shared on July 28: “Little Miss traumatized by her Olympic experience.”

Normally, the Little Miss meme is meant to poke fun at a person’s quirks, habits, or personality traits, but Biles took the meme format in a totally different direction to remind us just how unprecedented it was for her to put her mental health first — and how the experience took a major toll on her mental wellbeing. Expertly wielding a meme format to bring an important conversation back to the forefront? Yeah, that’s the stuff of GOATs. At the time of the Summer Olympics in 2021, Biles received support from fellow athletes and even Michelle Obama, but it’s clear that going through such an emotional and personal moment on the world stage didn’t leave her unscathed.

After hitting “Tweet” on the meme harkening to the 2021 ordeal, more support from her followers began rolling in:

Biles even retweeted this one that read: “little miss inspired a generation of athletes to be able to put themselves first to protect their physical/mental health and not feel guilty about it.”

Biles told ESPN in August 2021 that following her twisties, the beam was the only Olympic event she was cleared for — she won the bronze on beam after downgrading her dismount to not include twists. At the time, she said the win was “sweeter” than any other one. “This one is definitely sweeter. I'll treasure this one a lot more after everything I have been through,” Biles told Reuters.

In her September 2021 interview with The Cut, Biles reflected on the pressures she faced during that time, and said she wouldn’t change a thing. “I learned a lot about myself — courage, resilience, how to say no and speak up for yourself.” Even right after the Olympics, Biles knew her self-removal paved the way for important progress. In an interview with Mike Tirico from NBC Sports soon after her bronze win in August 2021, Biles shared that while she might not have done what she first set out to do, it was worth it: “I think we've opened bigger doors and bigger conversations.” As she took on this role of mental health advocate, Biles told Olympics.com in October 2021 that prioritizing yourself and your mental and physical health is a learning process. “...There are different methods that work for each individual person,” she said, and she made sure to add that people should “use every outlet given to you.”

Between her impressive collection of gold medals and world championship titles, it’s obvious that Biles was a sports legend before she even touched down in Tokyo in July 2021. But after her decision to put herself first helped influence a series of changes to Team USA’s mental health policies at the 2022 Beijing Games — including a mental health emergency action plan — she can add mental health advocate to the long list of reasons why she’s an undisputed GOAT. Oh, and go ahead and add “meme expert” to the list while you’re at it.