Simone Biles and her parents are hoping to leave a legacy in gymnastics that goes way beyond a stack of gold medals.
In a sport that featured few Black athletes for decades, Biles, 24, is proud to be part of a Black-owned training center run by her parents, Ron and Nellie Biles.
"Representation matters, and we want to inspire the next generation to pursue their passion," she said. "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."
The World Champions Centre in Spring, Texas, is looking to develop the next generation of gymnasts in a welcoming environment regardless of their background. The training center has been open to the public since 2016 after first opening two years earlier when Nellie Biles spearheaded its creation.
Biles shared in an emotional episode of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2017 that she was placed in foster care when she was 3 because her biological mother was struggling with drug and alcohol addiction and was in and out of jail.
Nellie and Ron Biles stepped in to raise Simone and told her she could call them her parents if she wanted.
"My parents saved me," Biles said on "DWTS." "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."
Biles recently added to her legendary resume when she won a record seventh U.S. Gymnastics title on Sunday as she gears up for Tokyo, where she looks to add to the haul of four gold medals she won at the 2016 Olympics. She also has gone from a teen phenom to a mentor and leader for other young American gymnasts looking to shine.
The superstar gymnast has also been mindful of her mental health ahead of the Olympics, which were postponed for a year due to the pandemic.
"For a while, I saw a psychologist once every two weeks," she told Health Magazine. "That helped me get in tune with myself so that I felt more comfortable and less anxious."
She also has the support of boyfriend Jonathan Owens, a defensive back for the Houston Texans, who was blown away this week when he got to see her compete in person for the first time. His own dedication to fitness also keeps her from straying too much from her training program.
"Since we are both professional athletes, we tend to eat very healthy," she said. "But I do love to snack. My weakness is cookies or sour candy."
This just in: Simone Biles has a weakness.