At 19 years old, Simone Biles may not be the youngest gymnast the the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio but she’s definitely the most talked about. It’s very possible that the teenager could leave the international competition with several medals around her neck. Despite her already successful career, Biles definitely didn’t have the easiest start in life.
Given Up by Mother
You wouldn’t know it from Biles infectious giggle or the fierce look in her eyes while she’s competing but she was born to a mother who struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. She was very young when she and sister, Adria, were placed in foster care but, fortunately, she had someone looking out for her.
Maternal grandfather, Ron, and his wife, Nellie, stepped in and adopted the now 4’ 8” gymnast and, today, it’s clear that she appreciates their actions. “[They] support me in any way possible,” she said earlier this year. “My parents make sure we have everything we need so that we compete to the best of our abilities.”
Beginning of a Dynamo
Biles began taking gymnastics lessons in Houston, Texas when she was six years old and it was immediately apparent that they had a natural aptitude for the sport. Nellie explained: “She never missed a practice. Even if she was sick, I would tell her she should stay home and she would say ‘No, I have to go to practice!’ ”
Since then, she has been dubbed “the Michael Jordan of gymnastics” and has earned 11 national titles since reaching the senior level of competition in 2013. Last month, she became the first woman in 40 years to win four U.S. all-around titles in a row! Even former
While, she does train for a whopping 32 hours per week preparing for the Olympics, Biles takes Sunday off to devote, almost entirely, to spending time with her family. “We go to church on Sunday and then have family dinner,” she says. “My mom usually cooks and most of the time it’s protein and something else. She will ask us kids what we want!” Sounds wonderful.
Watch Simone Biles in action during the Summer Olympics in Rio which begin on August 5, 2016.