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Olympics

GOAT To Go For Gold Without Goldie The Goat

Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

In the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics, Goldie the Goat has followed Simone Biles wherever she goes. The critter, which takes the form of bejeweled bust of a goat patterned onto Biles’s outfits or accessories, has appeared with her in each competition so far this year, be it from a sparkling spot on Biles’s leotards at the GK U.S. Classic and U.S. Gymnastics Championships, or on Biles’ slide sandals at the U.S. Olympic Trials. 

After a thorough investigation that involved a trip to the Olympic Trials in St. Louis and a confusing and mostly unhelpful phone call to the International Gymnastics Federation in Switzerland, Defector regrets to report that Goldie will not be accompanying Biles to her competitions in Tokyo.

“Goldie was something we did for just whenever I go out there and represent my home gym,” Biles said during a press conference Monday. “It won’t make an appearance at the Olympics. It is something fun because we get to design our leos completely at Classics and Championships and for Trials we have designated leos as well as at the Olympics. For me, it’s fine, don’t have to make an appearance, it’s just fun for me to do at Classics and Championships.” 

Simone debuted Goldie (who at the time was still an unnamed goat) on her leotard for the 2019 U.S. Championships in August of that year. It was a nod to her haters who criticized her confidence, and a message about not being afraid own her greatness. “[The haters] were joking like, ‘I swear, if she put a goat on her leo, blah, blah, blah.’ That would make them so angry,” Biles told Marie Claire. “And then I was like, ‘Oh, that’s actually a good idea. Let’s make the haters hate it, and the fans love it.’ … I just hope that kids growing up watching this aren’t ashamed of being good at whatever they do. And that’s my problem: when people kind of harp on other people that are good at something. And it’s like, everybody can say you’re good, but once you acknowledge it, it’s not cool anymore. And I want kids to learn that, yes, it’s okay to acknowledge that you’re good or even great at something.”

With four moves named after her (and likely one more on the way this Olympics), four Olympic gold medals, and the all-time record for the most World medals by any gymnast, Biles has more than earned her bravado. She wore her glinting goat on her back while performing her history-making Yurchenko double pike vault at the Classics, a move she doesn’t need to do to win, yet she does anyway because she can. With her long list of achievements she has as solid a claim to GOAT-hood in her field as any athlete ever has in theirs, and it’s been fun to see a woman athlete strut with that status on display.

But the International Olympic Committee does not condone this type of fun. It cannot abide any frivolous flourishes on outfits or, even worse, shows of personality. The IOC, you could say, is anti-goat. Rule 50, from the IOC’s Olympic Charter, dictates that athletes’ uniforms (including their accessories like Biles’s slides) must remain boring. They can only contain the country’s flag or Olympic emblem, and the manufacturer’s logo.

“No form of publicity or propaganda, commercial or otherwise, may appear on persons, on sportswear, accessories or, more generally, on any article of clothing or equipment whatsoever worn or used by all competitors, team officials, other team personnel and all other participants in the Olympic Games, except for the identification – as defined in paragraph 8 below – of the manufacturer of the article or equipment concerned, provided that such identification shall not be marked conspicuously for advertising purposes.”

IOC Olympic Charter

Athletes who commit such uniform code violations face potential disqualification, which is why Goldie will not be showing her cute little goat face at the Games. Goldie fans will have to wait for Biles’s own Gold Over America Tour this fall for her next appearance (an all-women’s gymnastics show she’s organized on her own, spurning the post-Olympic tour that has historically been organized by USA Gymnastics). 

Biles may have written her name into the sport’s code of points, but she still can’t arrange rhinestones into a goat-shaped pattern on her leotard for the most important competition. Biles doesn’t seem particularly bothered by these dumb rules, but I am. Long live Goldie.

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