Now that the competition is largely over for gymnasts at the Tokyo Olympics, many are looking at the legacy Simone Biles is leaving behind. After proving herself to be the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport, Simone stepped away from much of the competition in Tokyo before returning to win the bronze medal on the balance beam, the last event of the competition. Simone's strength throughout this has been extraordinary, and many are wondering who raised her.
Who are Simone Biles' parents?
Throughout her career as a competitive gymnast, Simone has received support from her parents, Ronald and Nellie Biles. Ronald is Simone's maternal grandfather, and Nellie is his wife, and the couple adopted Simone and her sister, Adria in 2003. At the time, Simone and Adria had been in and out of foster care for several years. Simone's other siblings, Tevin and Ashley, were adopted by Ronald's sister.
As Simone explained during Dancing With the Stars in 2017, her biological mother often struggled with alcohol and drug abuse and was in and out of jail as a result.
"I never had mom to run to. I do remember always being hungry and afraid," she said.
Ronald insisted that she call him "dad" and Nellie "mom" following the adoption, and Simone happily complied with the request.
"My parents saved me," the gymnast said. "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."
Ronald and Nellie made headlines in 2016 when they were in Rio to support Simone during the Olympics. In Tokyo, they weren't allowed to attend because of COVID, but the couple remain a huge part of Simone's support structure.
Nellie struggled with the adoption initially.
Although the relationship between Simone and her parents is great now, Nellie admitted during the Facebook Watch docuseries Simone vs. Herself that it took some time for her and Simone to bond. “I remember praying for that bonding,” Nellie said. “Because telling them that you love them and you care for them; that’s all words.
"But then you wake up one day, and you realize that you would do anything for these children," she continued. "And that you would die for these children. And when that feeling comes, that’s when you know you are truly a mother."
Although Nellie and Ronald couldn't be with Simone in Tokyo, they've offered plenty of support via social media, and Simone made it clear that she wasn't happy to be leaving them behind.
"Not me crying on the plane because I’ll miss my family & friends," she wrote as she left for Tokyo. Now that she's done with the Olympics, she can return to the family and friends she left behind. Throughout the Tokyo Games, Simone has proven that there are things more important than affirming your greatness. She's prioritized her own well-being and shown the world that athletes are not required to perform for anyone else's amusement.