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Simone Biles among honorees for 2021 People of the Year

People Magazine also lists Sandra Oh, Dolly Parton and educators as honorees.
Credit: AP
Simone Biles, of the United States, smiles as Tang Xijing, of China, left, embraces teammate Guan Chenchen after the latter won the gold medal on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's apparatus final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Biles won the bronze medal. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Simone Biles is adding another accomplishment to her list: becoming an honoree for People Magazine’s ‘People of the Year.’

The Olympian was named alongside actress Sandra Oh, singer Dolly Parton and multiple U.S. teachers.

People Magazine honored Biles for her withdrawal from some competitions during the Tokyo Olympics this summer. They said she changed perspectives on athletic victories and athletes’ mental health.

Simone Biles told People that the conversation was long overdue, and she was happy to see other athletes open up about their own mental health struggles.

“It’s kind of sad that we didn’t think we had that opportunity or that ability to do so before and put our mental health first,” she said in her interview. “But to see them put their mental health first is really exciting.”

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Biles also reflected on her testimony alongside other gymnasts in the Larry Nassar trial. She said the situation is still triggering for her but she’s proud to encourage other victims to speak out.

“I think that speaking at Congress helped so much and I think that we were so powerful when we did it. But people forget how traumatic it is for us,” said Biles. “Just knowing I’m helping other people speak out and be comfortable with that is very rewarding.”

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Simone Biles is one of several who have been named as People of the Year for 2021. Country singer Dolly Parton was honored for her Imagination Library, which has given more than 160 million books to kids. She also donated $1 million for COVID research that led to the Moderna vaccine.

Actress Sandra Oh has been recognized for speaking out against anti-Asian hate crimes, especially after the deadly shootings at Atlanta-area spas in March.

People Magazine also spotlighted teachers for their “unbelievably inspiring” resilience throughout the pandemic. They selected three teachers to represent “3 million-plus classroom heroes,” including National Teacher of the Year, Julianna Urtubey.

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