Simone Biles was set for another stellar showing at the Olympics this year. So when the Tokyo games got postponed to July 2021, it was hard for her, to say the least. In Simone’s latest Vogue story, her mom describes her daughter’s reaction akin to going through stages of grief: “Her emotions were all over the place because she did not know how she was supposed to feel.”
Much of the story details the hardships Simone has faced, particularly the abuse by USA Gymnastics and former USAG doctor Larry Nassar. But the story never digresses too far from her greatness. Vogue writer Abby Aguirre takes us back to Simone’s childhood and guides us into her optimism for the future. Below is the story’s 5 most heartwarming moments.
As a toddler, Simone would backflip to dismount from a swing set.
At age 3, Simone and her siblings lived with foster parents, Miss Doris and Mr. Leo. The couple had a trampoline, but being so young, she was not allowed to jump on it. From the swing set, she watched her older brother do flips. Simone eventually decided to take matters into her own hands. She would swing high enough so that when she launched from the swing, she could backflip on her way off.
2. Simone used to sneak into her baby sister’s crib
Biles was 6 when she and her siblings were adopted by her grandparents, Nellie and Ron. At this time, her actions continued to hint at her prowess for gymnastics. Her mom Nellie (formerly grandmother) often found Simone in her baby sister’s crib, thinking her older sister had let down the side of the crib during the night. To Nellie’s surprise, Simone could get into the crib all on her own. One day, Nellie walked in and saw Simone holding herself up on the crib, one leg over the rail.
3. First stop of the day? The trampoline.
Now older, Simone could jump on the trampoline. It was a ritual: rise, dress, jump. Nellie and Ron’s own teenage sons would assist by double bouncing her to see how many flips she could complete before coming back down. It’s no wonder she seemingly defies gravity now.
4. She has so many medals, that she can’t remember the exact number
At a Q&A session following a talk about beauty standards, one audience member asked Simone the number of medals she has earned. “I should probably memorize this answer, but it keeps changing,” she admitted. “I think it’s 25.”
Simone actually has 30 medals. Or, as another audience member put it, “The most!” It’s a fact: Simone is the greatest gymnast of all time.
5. When it’s safe, Biles still intends to do a post-Olympic tour.
With the delay of the Olympics, also came postponing a “Gold Over America Tour.” The cross-country, all-women event was destined to be a “gymnastics spectacular.” USAG typically hosts such an event, but given the murky future of the organization, Simone is set to make things happen. “If USAG isn’t having one— not to be cocky, but I draw a lot of the crowd in…. We thought, ‘let’s try to host our own tour and see where that takes us.’”
Read the full story here.