Five-Ring Circus

Who Will Win the Simone Biles Pepperoni Pizza Sweepstakes?

“Our pizzas used to taste like cardboard. Now they taste like gymnastics!”

Photo illustration by Derreck Johnson. Images by Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images; dabjola/iStock.

Simone Biles, the best gymnast in the world, loves pepperoni pizza. She eats it after every gymnastics competition, win or lose. If I were to make a list of the celebrities who enjoy pepperoni pizza the most, that list would be headed by Simone Biles, followed by three of the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, followed by Simone Biles again.

Biles, who has already won two gold medals in Rio de Janeiro and will probably win more before the games conclude, stands to make a killing after the Olympics with endorsement deals. Given her choice of post-meet nourishment, a pizza endorsement deal seems like a natural fit. The question, then, is this: Which pizza place will win the Simone Biles Pepperoni Pizza Sweepstakes?

Sbarro (500-to-1): Honestly, the bourbon chicken place one spot over from Sbarro at the mall food court has a better chance of inking Biles to an endorsement deal than does the actual Sbarro, America’s least essential restaurant.

Gabagool’s (100-to-1): This fictional mobbed-up New Jersey pizza place that I just invented doesn’t have much of an endorsement budget or a national reputation. After all, it doesn’t really exist. What they do have, see, is this baseball bat, see? And it’s hard to win a gold medal when you are unable to walk, see? So you’re gonna do this ad for us, Miss Biles, see, so you can keep on winning medals, see?

Uneven Bars Pizza (75-to-1): This gymnastics-themed pizza chain, so far as I know, also does not actually exist. But if it did, I bet Biles would at least take a meeting with its representatives. The synergies here are off the charts.

Little Caesars (50-to-1): The odds here are pretty low, because Little Caesars already has a perfectly good spokesman in that monomaniacal cartoon emperor, who did after all win gold on pommel horse in the 1896 Athens Games. Plus, Little Caesars specializes in selling pizzas that are “hot and ready.” Nobody wants to hear Simone Biles use the phrase hot and ready. Finally, my belief and understanding is that Biles is not very happy about the absence of an apostrophe in Little Caesars. It is upsetting, wrong, and not conducive to pepperoni digestion.

Pizza Hut (30-to-1): The Hut isn’t a front-runner here, and the only way it will stand a chance of signing Biles will be if it can present a compelling artistic vision for an ad campaign. Maybe something like this: Biles performs an all-around floor routine, except the floor is a gigantic pepperoni pizza. Also, Biles is wearing a leotard made of pepperoni pizza. When her routine concludes, the judges—three sentient Toasted Cheddar Flavor Sticks—award her a perfect score of 10 pepperoni pizzas. Suddenly, she wakes up! It was all just a dream! She’s not a gymnast after all! Fade to black as Biles prepares for a hard day at work in the oregano mines of the hideous pizza planet on which she lives and will one day die.

Barry’s Pizza and Italian Diner (12-to-1): Sure, this Houston, Texas, pizza place only has one location and doesn’t have a budget for national television spots. But I think Barry’s has an outside shot at signing Biles, a Houston resident, if they appeal to her sense of hometown pride and promise her a lifetime supply of their famous Mama Mia subs. (A house favorite since 1983!)

DiGiorno’s (9-to-1): The company has used pro athletes in its ads before. Consider this one, in which Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews physically assaults a houseguest for daring to suggest they order a pizza from a delivery place. Biles would certainly be an upgrade over Matthews, but I hope she chooses to decline the company’s bags of frozen money, because DiGiorno’s sucks. Their ads are all based on the patently ridiculous premise that fresh pizza delivered to your house is somehow inferior to a frozen product. This is the opposite of truth in advertising, and I don’t want to feel compelled to shout “LIAR!” every time I see Simone Biles on television.

Domino’s (3-to-1): “Our pizzas used to taste like cardboard. Now they taste like gymnastics!”

Papa John’s (even money). The chain has a vast national advertising budget and a history of using famous athletes like Peyton Manning and J.J. Watt in its commercials. Now that Manning is no longer active, it’s a perfect time to replace his gawky butt with a fresh new face. The tagline writes itself: “Better ingredients, better pizza, better vaulting: Papa John’s!” Within a year, a Papa John’s franchisee near you will be selling a double layout with a half-twist—that is, a stuffed-crust pizza stuffed inside another stuffed-crust pizza stuffed inside a red-white-and-blue leotard. I will bet anyone 10 Mama Mia subs that this is going to happen.

See more of Slate’s Olympics coverage.