If Donald Trump was the cash cow of 2016 for cable news, Simone Biles was the golden girl for NBC during Rio Olympic coverage.
The National Broadcasting Company’s social media feeds Monday made sure you knew that by hailing the four-gold gymnast after The Associated Press named her its Female Athlete of the Year.
Biles — who at one time was committed to UCLA before turning professional — earned 31 votes out of a possible 59 by U.S. editors and news directors.
That was 11 more votes than U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky, who won four golds and a silver in Rio. Serena Williams and NCAA basketball Player of the Year Breanna Stewart tied for third with four votes each.
But the clear overall winner was NBCUniversal, whose stations capitalized on #SimoneThings before, during and after her 11-day run in August.
How much was the 19-year-old worth in eyeballs and mouse clicks? It’s uncertain, but NBC paid $1.2 billion for TV rights to Rio.
A sampling of NBC congrats:
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 27, 2016
Simone Biles was named AP’s Female Athlete of 2016. Who do you think the Male Athlete of the Year will be?
— NBC Charlotte (@wcnc) December 27, 2016
— NBC 6 South Florida (@nbc6) December 26, 2016
— NBC4 Columbus (@nbc4i) December 26, 2016