Simone Biles is the most accomplished gymnast in the entire history of the sport. Literally. She's highly decorated with Olympic Gold medals, is mentoring young Black gymnasts that compete alongside her, and even has never-before-seen moves named in her honor (no, I'm not kidding). But with accomplishment and competing at a monumental level--which it almost seems as if it's her versus her--comes pain and internal struggles that many may not consider.
And in a recent interview with Glamour Magazine, she opened up about all the above. From the challenges she faces as an athlete, to the person she is once the gold medals are stripped away, as she competes with quite literally herself, is why we loved this interview.
And how she copes with the rush of being the best wherever is goes, is what humanizes her most, because it's exactly how many of us cope as well: through therapy.
She tells Glamour:
"I've learned it's OK to ask for help if you need it. [But] one of the very first sessions, I didn't talk at all. I just wouldn't say anything. I was like, 'I'm not crazy. I don't need to be here.'"
But as her therapist explained, therapy wasn't for people who are "crazy"; it was just an outlet for her to be able to talk about anything going on in her life—gymnastics or otherwise.
"I thought I could figure it out on my own, but that's sometimes not the case. And that's not something you should feel guilty or ashamed of. Once I got over that fact, I actually enjoyed it and looked forward to going to therapy. It's a safe space."
Additionally, self-care is a major component in Simone Biles' life, as she consistently surrounds herself with what she loves most.
"Before I would only focus on the gym. But me being happy outside the gym is just as important as me being happy and doing well in the gym. Now it's like everything's coming together."
This balance includes baths with Dr. Teal's, Mexican food because she's "obsessed with cheese, so I start with queso and beef," relaxing with her boyfriend, Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens (they met on the celeb dating app Raya), and trying to find a hobby.
"I feel like everybody was painting, or knitting, or doing something cool in quarantine, so I was like, 'I'm going to learn how to do my makeup, my hair, and my nails.' I almost ruined my nails, so that is no longer permitted. I've definitely gotten better at doing my hair, but clearly I'm not gifted in that department. I'm just really trying to find who I am."
I adored this interview in a multitude of ways because how relatable she instantly became. Simone Biles is a figure of perfection and a constant desire to outperform each time she is in competition. Seeing her be vulnerable, and open up to the reader, is refreshing.
What's also refreshing, is seeing the mega-champion go viral for fixing the hair of a young Black gymnast on her team, a move that symbolizes mountains more than hair to so many Black women and youth around the world. And Simone doesn't take those moments lightly. She, alongside her parents, even opened a 52,000-square-foot facility designed around training and mentoring young athletes.
"I've already done quite a lot, but I'm still trying to reach new heights and see what I'm capable of. And I hope people look back on my career and say, "Wow, she was actually really happy doing this, and she was good. I think that speaks volumes."
Us, too, sis.
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Featured image via Craig Barritt/Getty Images for SK-II