Simone Biles is the most decorated gymnast in the world, and her parents, Ron and Nellie Biles, have supported her every step of the way.
Ron and Nellie are Simone’s biological grandparents and adopted Simone and her sister when Simone was just six.
But with all that time in the spotlight, Olympic viewers have undoubtedly grown curious about Biles’ biological parents. What do we know about her biological father, Kelvin Clemons? Is he still in the picture?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Clemons Struggled With Addiction
According to The Daily Mail, Simone’s biological father, Kelvin Clemons, “struggled with his own addictions.”
Her mother, Shanon Biles, also struggled with alcohol and drugs. From ages two to about five, Biles, according to USA Today, spent a great deal of time in foster care.
She told the outlet, “We were really fortunate because we got to stay with our siblings, which most siblings get separated… We had a good experience in foster care. So I can’t knock that.”
In a 2016 interview with Time, Simone opened up about her past, stating, “When I was younger, I thought every kid was adopted. I didn’t understand why people made it such a big deal. To me it’s just normal.”
As of 2016, Clemons lived in Cleveland, according to the Daily Mail.
2. Simone Does Not Speak to Her Biological Father
The Daily Mail reported that while Simone does not speak to her father, Shanon, her biological mother, talks to him “occasionally on the phone.”
The outlet wrote, “Their conversations revolve around how well Simone and the rest of their children are doing.”
Shanon told The Daily Mail in 2016, “He just called me Sunday. I said, ‘I’m watching Simone are you watching her? Are you watching her? Call me back later.'”
A previous Heavy article revealed that Shanon is currently on probation for assault. The article reads, “Shanon Biles still lives in Columbus, Ohio, where Simone was born. According to Franklin County court records, Shanon Biles is currently on probation. The online record shows her probation is scheduled to end on January 12, 2022.”
In 2016, Simone told Time, “I wonder what my life would be like if none of this happened. I want to know why my mother did what she did. But those aren’t questions for me because that was her lifestyle when I wasn’t even born. I have everything I need so there are no blanks left unfilled. I never felt I had questions or needed answers or had a part of me that was missing.”
3. Shanon Biles: ‘It Was Like My Dad Flipped a Switch on Me.’
Shannon Biles spoke to The Daily Mail when Simone was competing at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Offering some of her family’s history, Shanon shared, “When we signed the [adoption] papers, it was like my dad flipped a switch on me – no communication, don’t call, and don’t visit. That’s how it was at the beginning.”
She added that it took six years before she was able to see her children again.
Shanon said, “It was hard to give up my kids but I had to do what I had to, I wasn’t able to care for them. I was still using and he didn’t want me coming in and out of their lives when I wasn’t right.”
4. Shanon: ‘He’s Very Proud of Her’
When Shanon spoke to Women’s Health Magazine, she said of Clemons, “… he knows that’s his daughter and he’s very proud of her.”
The Tokyo Olympics mark the first Olympic Games where Simone’s parents, Ron and Nellie, aren’t there to cheer her on.
Simone even uploaded a Tweet on July 14 that read, “not me crying on the plane because I’ll miss my family & friends.”
5. Clemons Was ‘Never in the Picture’
According to In Touch, Clemons “was never in the picture.”
Biles’ father had his own children before adopting both Simone and her younger sister.
Together, Ron and Nellie own a gymnastics center where Simone trains.
The World Champions Centre, according to Women’s Heath, is 56,000 square feet. In June, Simone told Health, “Representation matters, and we want to inspire the next generation to pursue their passion. Kids can come in and we will be training in the back, and they can see we are just like them. It helps them understand they can do it too.”
When she competed on “Dancing With the Stars”, Biles shared her story openly, as seen above, stating, “Growing up, my biological mom was suffering from drug and alcohol abuse and she was in and out of jail. I never had mom to run to. I do remember always being hungry and afraid. At 3 years old, I was placed in foster care.”
She added of Ron and Nellie, “My parents saved me… They’ve set huge examples of how to treat other people, and they’ve been there to support me since day one. There’s nothing I could say to them to thank them enough.”