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American gymnast Simone Biles has won the Lifetime Achievement award at this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
The 24-year-old is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes in her sport, winning five Olympic gold medals, with a silver and two bronze, and 19 golds at the World Championships.
She was unable to add to her gold rush at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year as she withdrew from five events due to her mental health.
Biles, who was sexually abused by disgraced USA team doctor Larry Nassar, joins the likes of Sir Steve Redgrave, Pele, Michael Phelps, Seve Ballesteros and David Beckham in winning the prestigious award.
She said: “The BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award is truly humbling. When I see those names who have been honoured before me I can hardly believe it.
“This year wasn’t quite the year I was expecting as I had to take a step back from competition to recover from an invisible injury. This was the hardest decision of my life, but I chose to speak out to show mental health struggles are nothing to be ashamed of.
“I want to thank my team-mates, my friends, and my family who gave me so much love and strength. I will carry on fighting for what I believe in and for sport to be a safer place for young people to grow and flourish.
“Thank you again for this truly wonderful honour and what it represents.”
Director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater added: “Simone’s passion and dedication to gymnastics has projected her and the sport to wider audiences across the world.
“What she has achieved on the biggest stages has confirmed her as one of the greatest of all time to represent the sport. To also have four gymnastics skills named after her shows how much of an influence she has had. It’s an honour to be awarding Simone with the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.”