Biles speaks to kids about abuse, race, and life after Tokyo

By Patricia Duffy | February 24, 2020
Credit: BBC My World/YouTube

Simone Biles recently took time out of her busy training schedule for the Tokyo Olympics to speak to the next generation.

On a recent episode of BBC My World, the Olympic and World champion gymnast answered questions submitted by young fans from around the world. The questions covered everything from diet to life after the Tokyo Olympics.

As she often is, Biles was open and candid when it came to answering questions about racism and abuse. She also mentioned the post-Olympic gymnastics tour she will be hosting in the U.S. after Tokyo and her interest in becoming an advocate for foster youth down the line.

Although the 22-year-old alluded to a much-deserved break after Tokyo, it’s notable that she made clear she is “still pretty young” and did not explicitly mention retiring in this interview. Previously, Biles has stated that she plans for the Tokyo Games to be her last.

Read on for her full answers.

Credit: BBC My World/YouTube

On eating healthy…

Usually my diet consists of a lot of protein, vegetables, fruits, but I also never feel afraid to eat some sweets here and there.

On how she initially got involved in gymnastics…

The reason why I got started in gymnastics was actually on a day care field trip, so I feel like it was kind of destiny. I’d never done gymnastics ever before, [but] once we went on the field trip, they sent a letter home. That’s kind of how it all started.

On mental blocks…

Mental blocks are not always easy, but how I get through them is… I usually count to three and go, and if that doesn’t work, then I break the skill down. I start by doing drills, have my coaches spot me, just to get through those.

On dealing with racism…

I’ve only faced one issue because of my racial profile. In 2013, one of the Italians was kind of upset that we were African American and winning, so she said if we all painted our skin black, then maybe we would win, too. I understand she was upset, but you don’t have to take it out on our racial backgrounds.

Has gymnastics ever gotten so hard you wanted to quit?

Yes, I feel like whenever I was younger, you go through rough patches in your sport that make you want to quit, but I always remember the reasons as to why I started this sport. It’s because I have a love and passion for it, and if you give up on your bad days, you don’t know what’s going to come next.

On Larry Nassar and the fall out with USAG…

With the stuff that’s happened with USA Gymnastics, that really hasn’t dimmed my love or my passion for the sport, personally. I just feel like, as an organization, that is where the nudges come from, but other than that, I still love the sport as a whole. I can’t blame the sport.

On life after the Tokyo Olympics…

After the Olympics, I plan on doing a tour that I’m hosting here in the U.S., and after that, I know I’ll be traveling. I’m still pretty young, so I feel like I’m not exactly sure what I want to do… But I think if it has anything to do with foster kids or foster youth and being a voice for them, I would love to do that.