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Simone Biles named AP Female Athlete of the Year for third time, joins legends

Simone Biles was voted Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for a third time, becoming the fourth woman in the last 50 years to earn the honor on that many occasions.

In voting by a sports media panel, Biles was followed by Iowa basketball star Caitlin Clark and Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmati of the World Cup champion Spanish soccer team.

Biles competed this summer and fall for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics. She won all of her all-around competitions and took four gold medals and one silver at October’s world championships.

She is expected to bid for a third Olympics next year with the Olympic Trials in Minneapolis from June 27-30.

Biles previously won AP Female Athlete of the Year in 2016, after she won four gold medals in her Olympic debut, and 2019, when she became the first gymnast to win five golds at a single worlds since 1958.

The other women to win AP Female Athlete of the Year three or more times in the last 50 years were tennis players Serena Williams (five times) and Chris Evert (four) and golfer Annika Sörenstam (three).

Going farther back, Babe Didrikson won it a record six times between 1932 and 1954. Tennis player Maureen Connolly won three in a row from 1951 through 1953.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.