Talk about awkward! Four-time Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles says that a flight attendant mistook her for a child and offered her a coloring book while flying home from Washington, D.C., where she had received the Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden.

The legendary athlete, 25, who is 4-foot-8, shared an Instagram Stories photo from her airplane seat while wearing a white sweatshirt and holding her hand up to her forehead with a look of frustration. Simone wrote underneath, “Not the flight attendant trying to give me a coloring book when I board … I said, ‘No, I’m good, I’m 25.’” The photo and its shocking caption went viral when a fan posted it to Twitter on Saturday, July 9.

In another Stories snapshot, Simone noted, “The other flight attendant gave me a mimosa so we’re in the clear,” but revealed the airline employee asked if she was old enough to legally drink first.

The embarrassing incident happened after the most decorated gymnast in American history was presented with the nation’s highest civilian honor by President Biden, 79, at a July 7 ceremony at the White House. Simone posted a photo of the moment she received the award to her Instagram, showing her proud and glowing smile.

Simone Biles Mistaken for a Child

with her fiancé, NFL player Jonathan Owens, who was on hand to watch his future wife’s latest moment of glory. 

In remarks to the athlete upon presenting her with the honor, President Biden said, “Today, [Simone] adds to her medal count of 32 — I don’t know if you’re going to find room,” while noting that she was the youngest-ever recipient of the Medal of Freedom.

In addition to all of her national and international competition medals, Simone took home four gold medals from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Games, including team, all-around, vault and floor exercise, as well as a bronze in the balance beam. She also won a team silver medal and a bronze in the balance beam at the 2020 Tokyo Games, despite having to withdraw from several events after suffering from a spatial-relation condition known as the “twisties.”


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Tyler Cowan