“It doesn’t matter where you come from, it just matters where you go with it.” Believe it or not, those words are from a 19-year-old. Simone Biles, Olympic gold medalist, is wise beyond her years. Her perseverance and determination have made her the most decorated American gymnast and the sixth woman to have won an individual all-around title at both the World Championships and the Olympic games.
Simone was raised by her grandfather, Ron, and his wife, Nellie. Her biological parents struggled with addictions and were unable to care for Simone and her three siblings. Ron and Nellie knew they couldn’t allow Simone and her younger sister to remain in foster care; therefore, the couple adopted them and raised the girls as their own. Simone embarked on her gymnastics career at the age of six. “Dream big because you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Give everything you do your all and never back down. You have to be willing to put forth the effort and never back down in order to achieve greatness,” says Simone. In her book Courage to Soar, Simone tells her story to the world and helps others to see what is possible if they never give up.
To achieve her dreams, Simone had to dedicate much of her time to exercise and practice. In 2012, Simone chose to switch from a public school to being homeschooled. This transition allowed Simone to increase her training from 20 to 32 hours a week. “Being homeschooled helped me become more disciplined, because I had to hold myself accountable for my studies and completing required assessments. Overall it helped me to not procrastinate and to stay on track—I practice those ideals every day,” says Simone. “Choosing to be homeschooled is a decision that can help you attain a dream. Children choosing to be homeschooled must do it for the right reasons and be prepared to stay committed.”
Simone has achieved so much and is now a household name. From meeting her celebrity crush Zac Efron, walking the red carpet at Hollywood events, and securing a sponsorship from Nike—Simone has embraced everything with such grace and maturity. Despite all of the fame, Simone manages to stay humble. “My friends and parents help me to stay grounded. Everything is still normal when I’m home. They treat me like I’m still the same Simone,” she emphasizes.
What fuels the Olympian’s success? The answer is simple—confidence. Simone said, “Confidence gives me the courage to soar. Knowing that I wrote down my goals and I can achieve them through hard work and dedication is reassuring. I always look at my goals to remind myself what I am trying to achieve and where I want to go from here.”
Simone Biles is more than a role model, she’s a warrior. No matter what obstacles are placed in Simone’s path, she overcomes them with composure and an extreme resilience. Simone’s motto is, “It’s important to focus on your talent and not your failures.” A positive attitude and determination turn dreams into a reality.