Simone Biles is competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which are taking place in the summer of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to NPR, Biles is the “heavy favorite” ahead of the 2020 Olympics. “Biles will still compete hard, showing off the range of skills she’s developed that were once considered impossible. Chief among them, a triple-twisting double backflip on the floor exercise and the Yurchenko double pike – a vault that launches her so high, she completes 2 1/2 flips before landing. She’s the only woman to ever land it in competition,” the outlet reports.
The 24-year-old athlete has not lost a single competition since mid-2013. Standing at 4-feet, 8- inches, Biles is bringing her A-game to the Olympics. In fact, she’s been perfecting the incredibly dangerous Yurchenko double pike vault — a move that she properly executed at the U.S. classic back in May, becoming the first woman to ever do so, according to The Hill.
Biles is recovering from an ankle injury, and her coach, Laurent Landi, has advised her not to event attempt it. “If she really wants to do it, she’s going to have to beg me. People seem to forget that it’s a very, very dangerous skill… Just to have glory and being [in] the Code of Points, it’s not enough,” Landi told On Her Turf ahead of the Opening Ceremony.
Whether Biles decides to attempt the stunt or not, all eyes will undoubtedly be on her to make history — again.
Here’s what you need to know:
Simone Biles Started Taking Gymnastics When She Was 6-Years-Old
Biles was born in Ohio on March 14, 1997. About two years later, she ended up in foster care with her two siblings.
According to USA Today, Biles’ mother, Shanon “struggled with drugs and alcohol, and her children were often removed from her care.” Biles spent a few years in the system before her grandfather, Ron Biles, asked for the kids to live with him and his wife, Nellie, in Texas. That request was granted, and Ron and Nellie Biles raised Simone Biles and her brother and sister from then on out. At the time, Simone Biles was about 5-years-old.
When Simone Biles was almost 7-years-old, she spent more time in the foster care system as her mother tried to regain custody. However, it didn’t work out, and Shanon’s “parental rights wound up being terminated.” Simone Biles and her younger sister, Adria Biles, ended up being formally adopted by Ron and Nellie Biles, while their two older siblings, Ashley and Tevin Biles, were adopted by their great aunt.
It was around this time that Simone Biles got a taste of gymnastics. It happened during a field trip to Bannon’s Gymnastix, according to Britannica. Ron and Nellie Biles signed her up for classes, and she became a dedicated athlete there for the next 11 years.
In 2010, Simone Biles competed in the Women’s Junior Olympic National Championships at the age of 13. It was then that she took home her first two medals; a gold in floor exercise and a bronze in vault. Over the next few years, Simone Biles continued competing — and continued taking home medals.
Although she was too young for the 2012 Olympics in London, she qualified for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 19. She took home four gold medals, including the individual all-around.
Now, at the age of 24, Simone Biles is ready to add to her medal collection while representing her country on the world’s biggest stage once more.
Simone Biles Doesn’t Stress About Her Diet
Simone Biles is petite, but she is in impeccable shape. Of course, being an Olympic athlete pretty much requires it! However, Simone Biles does not stress about her diet. While she does eat a good amount of protein and fiber to ensure that she has the energy to workout, she also doesn’t deprive herself of anything, either.
Interestingly, it’s not uncommon for the gymnast to skip breakfast. “I wake up so early before practice, which is at seven, so sometimes I’ll grab a quick bite and sometimes I won’t,” she told Women’s Health back in October 2020. For lunch, she stocks up on protein or carbs, often cooking one of her go-to meals; pasta, chicken, or salmon, with some vegetables.
When dinner rolls around, Simone Biles will sometimes let loose. “If I’m feeling like a little bit of a less healthy meal, I get pizza or fettuccine Alfredo with chicken. I really like home restaurants that are in the area because I feel like I get to be closer with them. I’m not picky. I’ll try any new restaurant,” she told Women’s Health.
In an interview with Prevention, Simone Biles admits that she enjoys snacks such as a “banana bread muffin, popcorn, or pretzels dipped in Nutella.” One of her favorite snacks of all time? Plantain chips.