Even before she set foot in Rio, Simone Biles was described as “the best gymnast in history,” “a legend in the making,” “breathtaking” and “stunning.” Some have even gone as far as to question if she’s actually human per her flawless executions.
There are hardly enough adjectives to describe the mystical creature who has captivated the nation with her gazelle-like grace.
Prior to her Olympic debut, Simone was already the most decorated gold medalist in world championship gymnastics history, with 14 Worlds medals in three years. And after several impeccable personal performances, it came as no surprise when she took home the team gold with Team USA’s “Final Five” last night.
Celebs and the public alike have swooned over this rising star’s world domination.
But there’s so much more to this talented 19-year-old than her insane gymnastic skills.
Everyone’s dying to know what Simone’s “secret formula” to success is. Well, to delve into that a little further, Us Magazine decided to take a peek inside her gym bag to get a personal look at the gymnast’s essentials.
Amidst a couple of keepsakes from friends, some good jams and a cheetah-print umbrella, they found a particularly special item that represents the core of Simone’s faith: a rosary.
“My mom, Nellie, got me a rosary at church,” explained Simone. “I don’t use it to pray before a competition. I’ll just pray normally to myself, but I have it there in case.”
Albeit a mere symbol of her faith in God, it is something that she loves to carry to remind her where her gifts truly come from. Amidst the rush of the fight to win gold, she even made sure she still made it to mass.
After a rough childhood and being abandoned by her father and drug-addicted mother, Simone has surely come a long way.
She was adopted by her grandparents, Ron and Nellie Biles, who introduced Simone to her Christian faith, and it’s something that the Olympic champion treasures deeply.
Ron and Nellie are the ones who helped Simone launch her gymnastics career and she considers them her “Mom” and “Dad.”
On a day-care field trip to Bannon’s Gymnastix at the age of six, Simone observed the students who were practicing, then began imitating their movements. She blew everyone away, and probably intimidated a few of those practicing, then returned home with an information packet and a note from the gym staff. They were asking if Simone could take lessons there because she had wowed them with her aptitude!
And so it began. Simone is actually considered to have a “late start” in the world of competitive gymnastics, but that clearly has had no affect on her ability.
After a year at the local Texas gym, Biles was spotted by trainer and former competitive gymnast, Aimee Boorman, who has since overseen her incredible successes. Ron and Nellie built a gymnastics gym, called the World Champions Centre, so Simone would have a place to train just 10 minutes from home.
Their sacrifices are a big part of what got her to where she is today.
It is the unconditional love of her family, the support of her team and her grounding in Christ that has allowed her to reach super-human heights.
Growing up without her biological parents and being a “late bloomer” as a gymnast certainly posed a set of challenges for Simone, but she overcame—and now she’s using her public platform to glorify God’s name.
Her rocky road to victory is further proof of one of my favorite quotes:
“God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”
Even though she’s clearly the standout, Simone refuses to take all the glory of the spotlight for herself. She puts the needs of her team above herself and says they are her motivation.
“The team comes first,” she said.
And more than that, she knows God comes first.
“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with your talent is your gift back to God,” she tweeted back in 2013.
It’s pretty beautiful to watch that gift come full circle last night as she took home the gold with Team USA.
And we only expect more greatness to come from this driven young lady.
“I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.” —Simone Biles
A teenager with that kind of passion, fueled with focus, and led by wisdom—stay tuned for more world domination.