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Thursday February 22, 2024

Gymnastic great Simone Biles' teammates laud her human side

As the 2024 Olympics approach, Simone Biles is looking to make a comeback with fans and teammates looking up to her

By Web Desk
February 06, 2024
Simone Biles competes at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. — AFP File
Simone Biles competes at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. — AFP File

Simone Biles stands not only as a gymnastic sensation but also as a beacon of down-to-earth virtues, captivating the hearts of both fans and teammates. 

As the anticipation for the 2024 Olympics in Paris builds, Biles emerges from a two-year hiatus, poised to become the focal point of the Games.

At 26, Biles carries the weight of expectations gracefully, juggling not only the demands of her gymnastic pursuits but also managing a two-career marriage with Green Bay Packers player Jonathan Owens. Amidst her rigorous training, she shares the gym with aspiring teenage teammates, forging bonds that transcend age boundaries.

Joscelyn Roberson, a 17-year-old teammate who had the privilege of being part of the gold medal-winning team at last year's World Championships, reflects on the camaraderie: "Yeah, I definitely feel like the age gap doesn't really necessarily matter in the gym. So our struggles are similar. Getting to know Simone has honestly been so fun."

"I feel like we're all trying to strive for the same goals and we're all doing the same thing."

The connection between Biles and her teammates extends beyond the gym. Roberson recalls the special moment when Biles, impressed by a video of a young Roberson's gymnastic skill, shared it on social media, expressing awe. "It just made me feel really special," Roberson says.

Zoe Miller, another teammate, stresses her admiration for Biles's human qualities over her gymnastic acumen. Miller attests to Biles's humility, care, and the deep connection they share.

The team dynamics, however, aren't just about athletic excellence. Tiana Sumanasekera, a member of the Pan Am Games team, describes the team as a "very silly group of girls." 

Biles, alongside teammate Zoe Miller, plays a crucial role in lightening the atmosphere during challenging training sessions. "Whenever we are having a hard day or something, they're always there to crack a joke and make us laugh even if we're crying," says Sumanasekera.

Jordan Chiles, who stood alongside Biles at the 2020 Tokyo Games, expresses pride in witnessing Biles's return to gymnastics. Chiles sees Biles as not only a phenomenal gymnast but also as someone who has redefined the sport, akin to the impact Michael Jordan had on basketball and Serena Williams on tennis.

In the words of Jordan Chiles, "Seeing her do this again for her third time, I think is something that I wish I could do. I wish I could be in that position where it's just like, you know what, this is what I want to do and I'm just going to go for it."