Simone Biles is one of the world’s most famous athletes – and, with nineteen medals under her belt, the 20-year-old is officially the most decorated American gymnast to date.
But even Biles can’t escape a man’s directive to smile.
On Monday night’s episode of Dancing With the Stars, host Tom Bergeron decided that it was appropriate to ask Biles why she wasn’t smiling in response to some of the judges’ positive comments.
Clearly unimpressed by the question, it seemed – for a moment – as if Biles would ignore the question completely. And then, looking down into the microphone that had been thrust so unceremoniously into her face, the athlete decided that it was high time she reminded Bergeron of her impressive CV.
“Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals,” she fired back.
Cue rapturous applause from the studio audience.
Biles’ salty comeback has since set the internet on fire, with many taking to Twitter to praise the athlete for her “crisp response”.
“’Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals’ is likely going to be my life motto from here on out,” wrote one.
Others dubbed her “savage” and filled their social media feeds with the applause emoji.
But it was Bergeron’s apologetic response which really caught our attention.
“Loved @Simone_Biles crisp response to my clumsy question,” the TV host wrote.
“Curious how she felt about judges’ comments, I unwittingly added to the smile pile.”
He added: “The question I should have asked (and have of many contestants) was ‘What's your reaction to the judges’ comments?’”
In a post-show interview with Entertainment Tonight, Biles was quizzed about her biting comeback – and the athlete explained that she has found it difficult connecting with the judges, despite being a fan favourite.
“You don’t know which wild card of sexy or happy they want you to bring, and you almost have to read their minds and find it,” she said, explaining that she finds it tiresome that she’s constantly being ranked on her ‘likeability’ over her dancing skills.
When asked how she felt about the judges’ comments and Bergeron’s misogynist question, Biles revealed that the negative feedback hadn’t left her feeling angry: instead, the 20-year-old was hurt, disappointed, and upset.
“I had tears in my eyes. I almost ran to the bathroom at one point, but I pulled it together,” she said.
“I am trying and I am being honest. But if they don’t see that, I don’t know what else more I can do.”
In September 2016, Chelsea Handler made headlines when she filmed a powerful message to all men who tell women to smile.
“Stop telling women to smile,” she said, pointing out that to do so is a form of harassment.
Handler continued: “We don’t like that - it’s not an icebreaker, it’s a dealbreaker. And what is your gameplan anyway? Do you think we’re gonna go smile and then magically float onto your penis? It doesn’t work that way.
“Do you know how sexist that is to say that to us? No one ever tells a man to smile. Try it. Go tell Samuel L Jackson to turn that frown upside down.”
Handler added: “They say it takes more muscles to frown, and I say, well good, then my face is getting one hell of a work out.”
Images: Dancing With The Stars