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Simone Biles Reminds Everyone She’s Not Here to Smile for the Judges

2 minute read

Verified superstar and Olympic gold medal gymnast Simone Biles is one of the greatest athletes of our time. And she has a message for anyone out there who expects her to tone down her level of focus: it’s not happening.

“Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals,” she told Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron after getting criticized for her facial expressions during week eight of the TV ballroom dance competition. (Biles and her partner Sasha Farber have consistently wowed audiences with their foxtrots, tangos, and paso dobles over the course of season 24, handily earning her a place in the semifinals next week alongside Fifth Harmony’s Normani Kordei, football player Rashad Jennings, and baseball player David Ross, making for a seriously athletic final field.)

She had been critiqued during the course of the evening’s two dances by all the judges for not smiling enough; they argued they found her look either inauthentic or too much like a “metronome.” But her now-iconic comment came after host Bergeron asked her why she wasn’t smiling when the judges did compliment her.

Either way, fans are here for Simone, rooting for her fiery response and commitment to trying something new.

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Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com