Simone Biles boldly returned for Tuesday’s balancing beam final after withdrawing from last week’s women’s gymnastics team to focus on her mental health. And the 24-year-old displayed true courage by winning bronze and defying the doubters.
“We have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do,” she explained after withdrawing from the floor competition. Later that day, she resorted to Twitter to express her discomfort with ‘twisting,’ a condition that impairs a gymnast’s spatial awareness.
In the span of her career, she has won four gold medals and set a record for the US for most gold medals in women’s gymnastics at a single Game. Ironically, her worst event was the balance beam, where she earned a bronze.
However, it was not an easy road for America’s most decorated gymnast from the outset.
Biles was born in 1997 in Columbus, Ohio, to Shanon. She was sent to foster care when she was three years old due to her mother’s drug habit.
When she was six years old, Biles and her younger sister were adopted by her maternal grandfather Ron Biles and his second wife Nellie Cayetano, and the family relocated to Houston, Texas.
Biles discussed how being adopted provided her with a second chance at life.
“Being separated from my biological mom, being placed in foster care before I officially got adopted by my grandparents, it just set me up for a better route at life,” she revealed on her Facebook Watch series, Simone Vs. Herself.
“And I feel like I wouldn’t be where I am unless that turning point happened. I would still be Simone Biles, probably not Simone Biles that everybody else knows, the world knows. 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.”
She and fellow gymnast Stacey Ervin Jr. dated for three years until they ended their relationship in 2020. Then she moved on in the same year, to date NFL player Jonathan Owens. The couple now lives together in Houston, Texas, with their dogs.