Simone Biles named AP Female Athlete of the Year after gymnastics gold rush at Rio Olympics

American gymnastics star Simone Biles has been named the Associated Press’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2016.

The 19-year-old sensation picked up four gold medals and a bronze at the Rio Olympics earlier this year, making her the most decorated American gymnast in the country’s history.

The multiple World Champion has dominated the sport since her emergence in 2013, specialising in the vault and floor, while also excelling on the beam.

But Biles lifted her standard to new heights in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first American gymnast to win four gold medals at a single Games.

A member of the much-heralded gold-winning USA team, nicknamed the ‘Final Five’, Biles steered the group to the team title, before bagging her own golds in the vault, floor and all-around competitions. A bronze in the beam was her only relative disappointment

Awarded the honour of carrying her nation’s flag in the closing ceremony in Rio, Biles’ engaging and friendly attitude has helped her garner fans from outside the world of gymnastics.

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