There’s no doubt that Simone Biles is used to criticism. You don’t win four Olympic gold medals without a lot of coaching. But when it comes to smile-shaming, she won’t stand for it.
On Monday night’s episode of “Dancing With the Stars,” the pint-sized gymnast, who is competing on the show, faced a tough set of judges who all had the same problem with her performance: she doesn’t emote enough.
“Your skills are unquestionable,” Carrie Ann Inaba told her. “You hit every line with precision and perfection. But once again, I’m going to come back to performance and authenticity about who you are when you perform. … You have this beautiful smile and you are a megastar with your energy, but once in a while, there’s beauty without a smile. There’s beauty in pain and all of the other emotions, and I’d like to see more of that.”
Judge Julianne Hough agreed, adding, “I don’t know if the smile is authentic because you want to smile, or if it’s just because you rehearsed it that way. … I really just want to see some rawness come out.”
“I’ve lived in a gym 14 years of my life, so it’s hard to show something I’ve never felt before,” Biles offered.
Following her second performance of the night, Inaba noted improvement, but added that Biles should be careful not to dance “like a metronome.”
And that’s when host Tom Bergeron chimed in.
“I was waiting for you to smile at some of the compliments, you didn’t.”
Biles’s response: “Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals.”
Twitter of course went wild:
— Melanie321 (@Mellie4Justice) May 9, 2017
— Tomas Villarreal (@TomasVill16) May 9, 2017
"Smiling doesn't win you gold medals." ~ Simone Biles, 5/8/17, 9:34 PM pic.twitter.com/xrGjgDhl2b
— ♞anisa♞ (@AJx74) May 9, 2017
— caleb shaffer (@_calebshaffer_) May 9, 2017
— Balkîssa (@nathybarry18) May 9, 2017
"smiling doesn't win you gold medals" is likely going to be my life motto from here on out, yas @Simone_Biles yas ????????????
— Carley Berman (@crlybrmn) May 9, 2017
Following the outpouring of support in favor of Biles’ clap-back, Bergeron took to Twitter on Tuesday morning, admitting that he “unwittingly added to the smile pile.” Wise move.
Loved @Simone_Biles crisp response to my clumsy question. Curious how she felt about judges comments, I unwittingly added to the smile pile.
— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) May 9, 2017