June 14, 2024
Simone Biles

If you thought Simone Biles had no one to one up her, think again. Turns out, the newest kid on the block is Italian teenage phenom Manila Esposito who has etched her name in the annals of history. Esposito’s performance is invoking comparisons to the legendary Simone Biles, Svetlana Khorkina, and Lilia Podkopayeva.

In the 2024 European Championships, Esposito didn’t just participate but reached the zenith with an impeccable record. Shattering all expectations, Esposito clinched not one, not two, but three gold in a single European Championships. The most astonishing fact is that this feat has been achieved by only the most iconic gymnasts of yesteryears. Going into Paris, will she be giving Simone Biles a run for her money?

Manila Esposito’s history wins echoes the journey of legendary gymnastics figures
Manila Esposito has secured four gold medals in the 2024 European Championships. Among these four, three are for individual events. Russian gymnast phenom Svetlana Khorkina and Ukrainian star Lilia Podkopayeva are the only figures from all across the globe who have managed to secure this feat. Only Khorkina and Podkopayeva won three gold in individual events in a single European Championships in the last 30 years. While 17-year-old Esposito’s name has already been in the pages with these iconic names, she is also being compared to Simone Biles when it comes to achieving heights at such a tender age. Also, Khorkina and Podkopayeva are among the most successful gymnasts in the All-Around competition between Simone Biles and the 1970s.

The European Championships began in the 1950s. And since then there have been only twenty occasions when a gymnast has mastered a three-gold sweep to date. Besides, all the gymnasts who have previously managed to clinch a triple-gold are legendary figures in Gymnastics and Hall of Famers. Also, eighteen times the gymnasts who have achieved the hat-trick in European Championships were already Olympic medalists.

Comparing all these stats, it’s pretty clear that Manila Esposito is already a shining name in the history of the European Championships. But there are also several grounds which make the Italian 17-year-old eligible to be compared to American gymnastics queen Simone Biles.

The rising star on par with gymnastics royalty Simone Biles?
Simone Biles who is considered the queen of gymnastics participated in the Rio Olympics in 2016 when she was just 19. 19-year-old Biles clinched gold in three individual events, including the all-around, vault, and floor exercise in the 2016 Rio Olympics. While Biles was just 17 she participated in the 2014 World Gymnastics Championships and bagged four gold. Two for individual events including floor and balance beam and another one for all-around individuals besides team all-around. Esposito too at just 17 grabbed four gold in the 35th Rimini European Artistic Gymnastics Championships. Previously in Antalya, she won two silver in 2023.

The sudden rise of the Italian teenage star might pose a threat to the Paris Olympics competitors. With the curtains closed on the 2024 European Championships, Esposito’s triumph may drive a spanner in the works of Simone Biles plan. Like a shooting star streaking across the night sky, Paris may very well be her defining year.

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