Simone Biles blasts newspaper for confusing her for another Black gymnast

We believed Simone Biles was the most famous gymnast. Houston native and four-time Olympic gold winner called out the Wall Street Journal on Monday for using a photo of another Black gymnast in a story.

The tabloid uploaded a piece to X, previously Twitter, honoring Biles' 2023 Gymnastics World Championships wins in Antwerp, Belgium, on Sunday. 

She became the most decorated gymnast in history with golds in women's balancing beam and floor finals, a silver in vault, and a sixth all-around victory aged 26.

Instead of Biles, the Journal included a photo of Shilese Jones, another U.S. gymnast. Jones won floor exercise and uneven bars in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Biles quickly addressed the mistake, stating, "I'm not in this picture..."... try again."

Others remarked Biles and Jones' considerable height disparity. Jones is 5 feet 3 inches and Biles 4 feet 8 inches."Not even the same stature like.....," said one. "There are SO many photos of you out there and they couldn't find ONE?" said another.

The Wall Street Journal did not apologize to Biles but withdrew the piece and added a correct photo. The magazine said, "We have corrected the photo and the story and on social media." They reprinted the item on X, admitting they misidentified Biles.

Note at bottom of web piece: "A photo in an earlier version of this article labeled gymnast Shilese Jones as Simone Biles. The photo is gone. (9 October correction)." 

SEC Network/ESPN/ABC analyst Katy Johnson apologized to Biles on X for not seeing the mistake and distributing the piece.

 "My heartfelt apology for sharing something that was clearly insensitive to @Simone_biles and every Black athlete who has had an incorrect photo assigned to them," Johnson said on X. 

Biles' international fame hasn't stopped her from being mistaken for another Black gymnast. In April, she said on X: "Still getting called Gabby Douglas is crazy to me." 

Douglas, 27, built a gymnastics legacy with three Olympic gold medals. Biles was once mistaken for a youngster on a flight and provided a coloring book. 

Like  Share Save

More Stories