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Simone Biles opened up about her childhood, family and the Olympics

The gymnastics legend holds strong in competition and in life’s challenges

Simone Biles prepares to perform on the beam at the women’s U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials.
Simone Biles prepares to compete on the beam during the women’s U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials Sunday, June 27, 2021, in St. Louis.
Jeff Roberson, Associated Press

Simone Biles is more than just a gymnastics legend; she’s an overcomer.

  • The 24-year-old opened up about her childhood struggles, adoption and family in the third episode of her Facebook Watch Series, “Simone vs. Herself,” says Fox News.

During Tuesday’s episode — titled “Who am I?” — Biles shared details about the crucial role of her biological grandparents turned adoptive parents. She explains how they helped her become the athlete and person she is today, reports Today.

What was childhood like for Simone Biles?

Biles’ biological mother struggled with drinking and drugs, leaving her unable to care for her four children. As a kid, Biles recalled struggling with hunger under the care of her biological mother, says Yahoo Sports.

  • “Growing up, me and my siblings were so focused on food because we didn’t have a lot of food,” Biles said, per Today.

Following reports from a neighbor and the intervention of a social worker, Biles and her siblings entered the foster care system.

  • “I don’t remember a lot about foster care, but I definitely knew that we had been taken from our biological mom and then you just think you’re going to go back to her,” she shared via Today.
  • “We were very fortunate that we actually got to stay with our siblings because a lot of the time you either get regrouped from home to home to home or you and your siblings get split up,” she said.

The turning point came when Biles and her younger sister Adria were adopted by their mother’s parents. The girls moved to Texas to live with their grandparents. According to Biles, this put her on a “better route” for her life, per Yahoo Sports.

  • “I would still be Simone Biles, probably not Simone Biles that everybody else knows, the world knows,” Biles said via Today. “But I also believe everything happens for a reason and I’m forever grateful for that because I definitely got a second shot at life.”

Why are the upcoming Tokyo Olympics ‘weird’ for Biles?

With her “second shot at life,” Biles has become one of the greatest gymnasts of all time. This weekend she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and will lead Team USA in Tokyo next month, reports Deseret News.

  • In her Olympic journey, the biggest hurdle was the COVID-19 restrictions that prevent athletes from bringing family members, says Fox News.
  • Biles’ adoptive parents have never missed a competition — until now.

“It’s definitely going to be weird not having my family there ... so I’m kinda nervous that I might freak out over that,” Biles said per Fox News.

According to Biles’ adoptive mother, Nellie Biles, “I think the ultimate goal is that she gets there and if that’s attainable then nothing else matters. Nothing else matters.”