Biles’ Beginnings: A Fan of Gymnastics from the Start!

Simone Biles’ interest in gymnastics was sparked at a young age. It all started the day a young Biles went on a field trip to a gymnastics center with her daycare program. Inspired by the other gymnasts, Biles tried to copy their movements, and the center took notice. It sent a letter home with Biles, advocating that she enroll in tumbling or gymnastics (Mead, 2021). And, as we all know, the rest is history! That gymnastics center assessed Biles’ talent well, as she is now the proud recipient of an astonishing 25 World Championship medals, the highest number earned by any gymnast, male or female alike (Keh, 2021). Out of all of the events in gymnastics, she enjoys the floor exercise the most (United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, n.d.).

Biles performing a floor routine. She is wearing a blue leotard, and is down on her knees, with her chest and head lifted up to the sky.
Biles slaying it in her favorite exercise, the floor routine. Photo from Biles’ Instagram, @simonebiles.

Born in 1997, Biles and her sister Adria were taken in and brought up by their grandparents, Ron and Nellie, as their mother struggled with substance abuse (Mead, 2021). Ultimately, Biles’ grandparents adopted her and her sister. Biles is particularly grateful for her grandma Nellie’s unwavering support over the years. Biles calls Nellie “Mom” and notes, “She encourages me and never lets me feel down about something for too long” (Mead, 2021).

A young Biles with her sister, Adria, and grandparents, Nellie and Ron, back in 2012.
A young Biles with her sister, Adria, and grandparents, Nellie and Ron, back in 2012. Photo from @simonebiles.

Biles and her sister when they were very young. Biles is hugging her sister and they both have huge grins on their faces.
Biles and her sister as children. Photo from @simonebiles.

Timeline to Gymnastics Success

Pre-Rio Journey

In 2007, as a pre-teen, Biles launched her competitive career, entering competitions as a level 8 gymnast. A few years later, in 2011, she soared to new heights, notching 3rd Place in the all-around at the American Classic, and 1st Place in the vault and balance beam events (Mead, 2021). With momentum, serious skill, and remarkable dedication on her side, she achieved victory in the vault and the all-around events in 2012 at the American Classic, the Alamo Classic, the Houston National Invitational, and the Secret U.S. Classic (Mead, 2021). Then in 2013, Biles showed she meant business by becoming the all-around winner at the U.S. P&G Championships and making history as the first female African American to attain gold in the all-around at the World Championships (Mead, 2021).

The year 2014 was comprised of still more incredible victories for Biles, and she commonly carried out her trademark move–a double flip with a half-twist–when performing floor routines. She secured a spot in the gymnastics history books yet again in 2015 when she became the first female to acquire her third back-to-back world all-around title (Mead, 2021).

Biles biting on her gold medal in 2015, when she became the world all-around champion for the third year in a row. She is wearing a red leotard with a red bow in her hair.
Breaking history in 2015 as three-time world all-around champion. Photo from @simonebiles.

Rio 2016: An Olympics to Remember

As the author of this post, I will always remember Biles’ incredible display of athleticism at Rio 2016, as well as the remarkable performances of Raisman, Douglas, Hernandez, and Kocian (together christened “The Final Five”). These ladies were a dynamic team with prowess and great heart, and I have fond memories of staying up late to watch them compete in the individual and team events. Seeing them secure the gold as a team, and watching Biles triumph and win the all-around gold medal (as well as gold in the individual vault and floor exercises and bronze in the balance beam exercise), made me so proud and filled me with renewed hope that hard, diligent work can indeed lead to greatness (Mead, 2021; United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, n.d.).

The Final Five--Douglas, Raisman, Kocian, Hernandez, and Biles--pose in their patriotic leotards.
The Final Five. Photo from @simonebiles.

Post-Rio and Moving Toward Tokyo

After an intense handful of years that culminated in her Rio victories, Biles took a well-deserved break for the majority of 2017. However, the break did not set her back in the slightest, as she came out on top at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in August 2018 by an incredible 6.55 points. This was her fifth national all-around title victory, and she went on to achieve her sixth the year after (Mead, 2021). Furthermore, on June 6, 2021, she notched her seventh title at the U.S. Championships (Associated Press, 2021).

Yurchenko Double Pike

Chances are, you never knew this gymnastics move existed until Biles successfully performed it! We didn’t, either! May 22, 2021 went down as a day to remember when Biles accomplished the remarkable feat of landing this intimidating move (usually executed by male gymnasts) while competing at the GK US Classic in Indianapolis, Indiana (Mead, 2021). So, what exactly IS a Yurchenko Double Pike? It is a move made up of three essential components:

  1. A roundoff onto the springboard
  2. A back handspring onto the vault
  3. A piked double backflip for the landing (Mead, 2021)

In short, it’s a move we’re not going to be trying anytime soon. We’ll leave it to Biles to execute this one with ease!

Simone Biles Executing the Yurchenko Double Pike   

Biles, wearing a slate blue crop top and lighter blue leggings, poses in the gym like she is sticking her landing, with one girl smiling and walking behind her and several gymnasts training in the background.
All smiles. Doing what she was born to do! Photo from @simonebiles.

Biles’ Day Plan

Typical Monday/Wednesday Routine in Preparation for Tokyo

  • 6:00 a.m.: Wake Up and Get Dressed
  • 6:30 a.m.: Grab a BelVita Breakfast Biscuit, and Head to Gym
  • 7:00 a.m.: Get Pumped with Music (from Beyonce, Rihanna, and Megan Thee Stallion) and Carry Out Morning Practice (where she works on three different events)
  • 10:30 a.m.: Head Home
  • 11:00 a.m.: Eat Lunch (Protein or a Fresh, Light Sushi)
  • 11:30 a.m.: Take a Nap
  • 12:30 p.m.: Spend Time with Dogs
  • 1:00 p.m.: Grab a Snack
  • 1:30 p.m.: Head Back to Gym
  • 2:00 p.m.: Carry Out Second Training Session
  • 5:00 p.m.: Recovery (Ice or Massage)
  • 5:30 p.m.: Head Home
  • 6:00 p.m.: Dinner with Boyfriend, Jonathan; Jonathan likes to cook salmon or chicken, potatoes or mac and cheese, and veggies
  • 7:00 p.m.: Unwind for the NIght
  • 10:00 p.m.: Go to Sleep

(Vulpo & Rosenbloom, 2021)

Training=A Huge Part of Biles’ Life

To prepare for the Olympics, Biles has kept up a training regime in which she has been in the gym 6 days per week, putting in the work to make Tokyo one for the books. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, she has diligently carried out two practices each day (for a total of seven hours of training on these days!), whereas on Thursdays and Saturdays, she has put in half-days (Vulpo & Rosenbloom, 2021; Wilson, 2021). Sundays are her days of rest. Additionally, during two of her days with two practices–Mondays and Wednesdays–she engages in recovery with her trainer following her second practice, typically getting a massage or ice to benefit her taxed muscles (Vulpo & Rosenbloom, 2021).

Fitting in Time for Self-Care

Biles notes that she is sure to reserve time for herself in her day to protect her sanity and boost her well-being. She asserts, “The most important thing for me is taking time to myself, because I can get talked out with a lot of people, and I kind of like my own space. So I think part of recovery for me is being by myself and just relaxing on my own” (Flinn, 2019).

Wearing G.O.A.T. Leotards

As Biles has been christened with the title “the greatest of all time,” or “the G.O.A.T.” for short, by a great deal of people, she thought it would be fun to respond to those who talk down on her by wearing leotards with goat heads on them (and they are the prettiest goats we have ever seen, being composed of silver rhinestones)! Simone acknowledges that it’s a “running joke” that’s all in good fun (Etienne, 2021). She explains, “[The haters] were joking like, ‘I swear, if she put a goat on her leo, blah, blah, blah.’ That would make them so angry. And then I was like, ‘Oh, that’s actually a good idea. Let’s make the haters hate it, and the fans love it.’ And so that’s exactly what we did and why we did it” (DiTrolio, 2021).

Biles goes on to clarify, “I don’t think of myself as the G.O.A.T. and that’s not why I wear the goat on my leo” (Etienne, 2021). We think it’s great that rather than let her haters get to her, Biles boldly turned the situation around with humor and ingenuity!

“I just hope that kids growing up watching this don’t or aren’t ashamed of being good at whatever they do. And that’s my problem: when people kind of harp on other people that are good at something…I want kids to learn that, yes, it’s okay to acknowledge that you’re good or even great at something.” ~Simone Biles for Marie Clare (DiTrolio, 2021)

Biles, with her back toward the camera, models one of her GOAT leotards.
Biles looking stylish in one of her GOAT Leotards. Photo from @simonebiles.

Looking Ahead to Tokyo

Biles is stoked about heading to her second Olympics. Her time at the Olympic Village in 2016 in Rio left a powerful impression on her, and she looks forward to once again sharing the incredible Olympic experience with thousands of top-performing athletes from around the world (Vulpo & Rosenbloom, 2021). We cannot wait to see her flip, twist, tumble, and fly to new heights and make her mark again on the Olympic sands of time in Tokyo!

“The camaraderie in the Olympic Village is like something I’ve never seen in 2016. I just was so shocked at how everybody from all around the world was gunning at the same thing, everybody had the same goal in mind…We’re all in one spot trying to get a gold medal and everybody’s so dedicated, motivated, just on top of their game. It’s truly amazing.” ~Simone Biles for E Online (Vulpo & Rosenbloom, 2021)

Simone Biles on the plane to Tokyo, holding a bag with a GOAT head emblem on it.
Watch Out, Tokyo! Simone Biles is headed your way! Photo from @simonebiles.


Associated Press. (2021, June 6). Simone Biles claims seventh U.S. gymnastics championship. ESPN.

DiTrolio, M. (2021, June 14). Simone Biles on her GOAT leotard: Don’t be ashamed of being great. Marie Claire.

Etienne, V. (2021, June 15). Simone Biles says she wears a goat on leotard to ‘hit back at the haters.’ People.

Flinn, A. (2019, September 17). The top 3 things Simone Biles does every day to prioritize her health and wellness. Well + Good.

Keh, A. (2021, June 28). Simone Biles becomes World Championships’ most decorated gymnast. The New York Times. ​​

Mead, W. (2021, June 1). Simone Biles. Biography.

NBC Sports. (2021, May 22). Simone Biles lands Yurchenko double pike vault at U.S. Classic | NBC Sports [Video]. YouTube.

United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. (n.d.). Simone Biles. Team USA.

Vulpo, M. & Rosenbloom, A. (2021, June 14). ​​Olympian Simone Biles shares rare glimpse into her daily training schedule. E Online.

Wilson, S. (2021, April 23). Simone Biles reveals her insane 7-hour training schedule for Olympics: I get ‘down & dirty.’ Hollywood Life.

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