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‘No, I’m Good, I’m 25’: Simone Biles Says Flight Attendant Mistook Her for a Child on Flight Following Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony

At only 25 years old, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is already the most decorated athlete in the sport, woman or man, beating out previous title holder Shannon Miller. During a recent flight home from Washington D.C., where she broke yet another record as the youngest person to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Ohio-born star revealed she was mistaken for a child.

In a since-deleted Instagram Stories, Biles shared a snap of herself looking perplexed as she shared, “Not the flight attendant trying to give me a coloring book when I board… I said, ‘No I’m good. I’m 25.’ ”

No, I'm Good, I'm 25': Simone Biles Says Flight Attendant Mistook Her for a Child on Flight Following Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony
Simone Biles gets mistaken for a child on a flight returning from the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony. Photo: @simonebiles/Instagram (Stories)

The four-time Olympic gold medalist‘s awkward moment went viral after social media influencer Matt Bernstein commented on the post on Twitter, writing, “I’m crying at the thought of a flight attendant giving Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast in history, a coloring book because she is 4’8.”   

Folks flocked to the comments section where they attempted to rationalize the situation, including one critic who wrote, “To be fair I don’t think they realized who she was plus the fact that this powerhouse of an athlete is very short & slim.” That person added, “I’ve made the same mistake when staffing promotional stands. Once offered a badge to a  short child until he turned and not had a deep voice but a beard too.” 

“It’s happened to me many times as a short lady. I got asked if I was in high school recently,” added another. “Reasonable mistake but still totally hilarious that it happened as she was headed out of DC from receiving the nation’s highest civilian honor.”

As embarrassing as some might have found the incident, others couldn’t help but crack up at the thought that the pro athlete was handed a coloring book after receiving one of the highest awards obtainable by a civilian. 

“That really is the best part of the story,” quipped a third person. “On her way home from receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. @POTUS, can you believe this?” 

Reflecting on this astonishing milestone, Biles shared that it’s “a huge honor” for so early in her life.

“It’s kind of scary because it is the best award you can receive for your whole life so now it’s kind of scary like, ‘Oh, what do I do now?’ But it’s a huge honor,” she told reporters at the White House. “I’m excited to be here especially with my family, my agents [and] all the other recipients. So, it was an exciting morning.”

According to The White House, Simone was selected, among 16 other individuals, to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor for her history-making accomplishments in gymnastics, as well as her advocacy work for the mental health and safety of athletes; children who are in the foster care system; and victims of sexual assault.

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