Gymnast says: ‘I definitely got a second shot at life’
The Olympian discussed her childhood, and eventually being adopted by her grandparents, during a new episode of her Facebook Watch Series Simone vs Herself.
In the video, titled “Who Am I?” the 24-year-old revealed that, during the years spent with her biological mother, she and her siblings, Adria, Ashley and Tevin, were “so focused on food” and that she was often hungry.
“Growing up, me and my siblings were so focused on food because we didn’t have a lot of food,” she recalled. “I remember there was this cat around the house and I’d be so hungry. They would feed this cat and I’m like: ‘Where the heck is my food?’ And so I think that’s where it stemmed, where I don’t like cats, is because this frickin’ street cat, she always fed it, but she never fed us.”
According to Biles’ grandmother, Nellie, the gymnast’s mother was “doing a lot of drinking and drugs” at the time, with social workers eventually stepping in to remove the children from the situation after neighbours expressed concerns.
Biles said that the time she and her siblings spent in foster care is not something she remembers well, men, despite her young age, she was aware that they had been taken away from their biological mother.
“I don’t remember a lot about foster care, but I definitely knew that we had been taken from our biological mom and then you just think you’re going to go back to her," hun sa, adding that they were “very fortunate” because the siblings were allowed to stay together, as “a lot of the time you either get regrouped from home to home to home or you and your siblings get split up”.
When Biles was six, she and her younger sister Adria were adopted by their maternal grandfather Ron Biles and Nellie, his second wife. Biles’ older siblings, Ashley and Tevin, were adopted by an aunt in Ohio.
According to Biles, being removed from the care of her biological mother and eventually adopted by her grandparents, who she calls mom and dad, gave her a “second shot” in life, and allowed her to achieve what she has in her impressive career.
“Being separated from my biological mom, being placed in foster care before I officially got adopted by my grandparents, it just set me up for a better route at life and I feel like I wouldn’t be where I am unless that turning point happened," hun sa. “I would still be Simone Biles, probably not Simone Biles that everybody else knows, the world knows.
“But I also believe everything happens for a reason and I’m forever grateful for that because I definitely got a second shot at life.”