Two Simones: The stars of Rio expected to shine in Tokyo Olympics

Simone Biles & Simone Manuel are on track to make Houston proud again

Biles pic: TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 22: Simone Biles of Team United States trains on balance beam during Women's Podium Training ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 22, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Manuel pic: TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 22: Simone Manuel of Team United States during aquatics training at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 22, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Five years ago the world got to know two remarkable athletes with more in common than a shared name. Simone Biles and Simone Manuel both list the Houston-area as home and they each dominated their sports at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

In fact, they were so dynamic, KPRC 2 added an entire category to our medal count just for them!

At one point, their combined medal count surpassed the medal counts of entire countries!


So as we look forward to cheering them on at the Tokyo games, we are taking a look back at their amazing accomplishments in Rio.

Biles, from Spring, won five Olympic medals in 2016 (four gold, one bronze). One of those medals was a team victory, won alongside Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and Madison Kocian. Biles was already a superstar before the 2016 Olympics, but her fame exploded after her performance in Rio. Her celebrity status is evident by her large number of followers on social media: 4.2M on Instagram and 1.2M on Twitter. Just this week she earned her very own Twitter emoji, a GOAT representing her title of the “Greatest Of All Time.”

Manuel, from Sugar Land, was a trailblazer in Rio. She became the first African American female swimmer to win an Olympic medal in an individual event. In total, she brought home two golds and two silvers. When it was over, she had a craving for something special back home. The first thing she did after landing at Bush Intercontinental Airport was get a Shipley donut.

In 2016, Simone Manuel knew what she wanted after returning from Rio - a Shipley donut. (KPRC/

One of her next stops was to visit us! A few days after coming home from Rio, Manuel stopped by KPRC 2 to meet some of our team.

Simone Manuel visited our KPRC 2 team after returning from Rio in 2016. (KPRC/
Simone Manuel visited our KPRC 2 team after returning from Rio in 2016. (KPRC/

Simone Biles and the Team USA women’s gymnastics will begin competing in Tokyo this weekend at 1:10 a.m on Sunday morning in Houston. (Tokyo is 14 hours ahead of us.)

Simone Manuel swims in the 50m free on July 30 at 5 a.m. Houston time. If she has a good race and qualifies for the finals, she’ll have a shot at the medal stand in primetime on July 31.

We’re looking forward to seeing what the Simones can achieve these Olympic Games and will be cheering from Texas as they again show their skills in the gymnastics arena and the swimming pool.