Olympic Gymnastics Hopeful Simone Biles Has a ‘Big Thing to Live Up To’

Simone Biles
Simone Biles USOC/NBC Olympics

Remember her name! USA Gymnastics will name the competitors for the women’s gymnastics team on Sunday, July 10, and one woman is considered a lock: Simone Biles.

Biles is only 19 years old, but she already has 14 world championship medals (including 10 golds!) and four national titles in the all-around competition.

“It’s a big thing to live up to!” Biles tells Us Weekly.

While Biles’ 4-foot-9 body has been compared to Michael Phelps’ in terms of being the perfect match for her sport, she was late to enter gymnastics. She started gymnastics at age 6 — comparatively old when you consider Aly Raisman entered the sport at age 2.

“Gymnastics was not a sport that came to mind that I would have put Simone in in the first place. That just came by as an accident and it was a great accident,” her adoptive mother, Nellie Biles, explains to Us Weekly. “It was for a day care field trip that she went to the gym and she came back with a note, and to me the note was special, but probably was a note that everyone received. The note was a generic note saying that she attended the gym and that she enjoyed gymnastics. It was a choice between gymnastics and cheerleading, and I spoke to her about it and she chose gymnastics and that was it.”

Simone, who was raised by her maternal grandfather, Ron Biles, and his wife, Nellie (her biological mother was unable to care for her), was a “hyperactive kid,” according to Nellie, who adds, “Not to say that has changed much!”

That hyperactivity is clearly working for the young athlete — as is her happy, bubbly personality.

Earlier this year, McKayla Maroney, who was part of 2012’s Fierce Five, expressed envy for Biles’ smiles during competition — which are rare in the sport, as most gymnasts keep a straight face.

“I know Simone’s coach Aimee [Boorman] lets her smile, which I’m just superjealous of,” she told the podcast "GymCastic."

It’s such a simple thing, but Biles doesn’t take it for granted.

“Different things work for different people. You can’t all program us to be the same. So I think it helped me a lot that Coach Aimee does allow me to smile and stuff like that because she knows that’s me, that’s my personality, and if I didn’t do it, I don’t know if I’d [have] come this far.”

Watch the Women’s Olympic Trials on NBC July 8 at 9 p.m. ET, and July 10 at 8 p.m. ET.

The Rio Olympics begin August 5 and will be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. The Rio Paralympics begin on September 7 and will be streamed live on TeamUSA.org.

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