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Simone Biles and her family talked about their time in foster care and the process of being adopted by their grandparents on the latest installment of their Facebook watch series Simone vs Herself.
Nellie Biles, the grandmother of the 24-year-old American gymnastics star, said Simone’s birth mother was unable to look after her four children while she was dealing with alcohol and drug problems, which neighbors reported prompted the intervention of a social worker.
“I don’t remember much about foster care, but I definitely knew that we were taken by our birth mother and then you just think you’re going to come back to her,” Biles said. “We were very lucky that you could stay with your siblings, because often you are either regrouped from house to house or you and your siblings are separated.”
Biles went on to describe the hunger she and her siblings suffered while living with their birth mother.
“When I was growing up, my siblings and I were so focused on eating because we didn’t have much to eat,” she said. “I remember there was this cat in the house and I was so hungry. You would feed that cat and I would say, ‘Where the hell is my food?’ And so I think that is [why] I don’t like cats … because that damn street cat always fed them. But she never fed us. “
Biles and her younger sister Adria moved to Texas after they were adopted by her maternal grandparents, Nellie and Ronald Biles. The girls’ two older siblings, Ashley and Tevin, stayed in Ohio and were adopted by their father’s sister.
“I knew I had my own barriers because these weren’t my biological children,” said Nellie. “You do everything that nourishes, that’s motherly, but emotionally you still have to be 100% there. And it wasn’t me.
“I remember praying for this bond because telling them they were loved and cared for are all words. But one day you wake up and you realize that you would do anything for these children and that you would die for these children. And when that feeling comes … then you know that you really are a mother. “
Biles was so far ahead in the recent U.S. tournament championships that she didn’t even have to pull out her show stoppers like the Jurchenko double pike jump – she’s the only woman to land the train in the competition – to take a record seventh all-round title.
Biles has won every all-around competition she has competed in since 2013 and could be the safest bet when it comes to a gold medal in Tokyo.
“This is a person who has already left his mark on history,” Russian all-round men’s world champion Nikita Nagornyy told Reuters. “The whole world is talking about her. We can simply admire their achievements and be proud of them. “
Biles’ Olympic résumé includes five medals, four gold, from the 2016 Rio Games and every prediction is that she could improve on that booty in Tokyo. She is the overwhelming favorite to defend her all-round title and lead the US to team gold.
There will be more options on the four individual devices. If she wins a medal in each of these disciplines, the American will be in second place on the all-time list of Olympic medals won by gymnasts, alongside Czechoslovakia Vera Caslavska at 11 and only behind Soviet Larisa Latynina at 18.
It takes her three to get past Shannon Miller as the best-decorated US gymnast, while four would bring her together 34 world and Olympic medals, which would surpass the record of 33 held by Russian Vitaly Scherbo.