Simone Biles' Biggest Career Obstacle Is Actually So Relatable
Badass Women celebrates women who show up, speak up, and get things done. Simone Biles has been named one of the Badass 50 in our February 2019 issue, on newstands now.
It’s hard to keep up with Simone Biles these days. Ever since her epic sweep at the 2016 Olympics as part of Team USA's gold-medal-winning “Final Five," Biles has continued to soar past the competition to become the most decorated Olympic gymnast of all time.
Last year at the World Championships, she broke even more records becoming the first American to medal in every single event, even though she was in the emergency room with a kidney stone just hours before she had to compete for the qualifying rounds.
And off the mat, she’s shown her strength as well, joining fellow Olympians Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, and more, by speaking out against disgraced former national team doctor Larry Nassar. “I am not afraid to tell my story anymore. I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” she said in a statement on Twitter last January. “After hearing the brave stories of my friends and other survivors, I know that this horrific experience does not define me. I am much more than this.”
Biles proved her point not long after at the National Championships in August, breaking even more records, and becoming the first American woman to win five all-around national titles. She competed in a teal-colored leotard, showing her unwavering support for fellow survivors of sexual abuse, while bringing more awareness to the problem that’s been plaguing her sport.
Now, it seems that she has her eye on Olympic glory in 2020, so before she goes into full-on training mode, we caught up with her for InStyle's February Badass Women-themed issue, to talk overcoming obstacles, the best piece of advice she’s ever received, and her love for Serena Williams.
Badass woman mantra: You don’t have to have a gold medal to be a badass, according to Biles. In fact, she says it’s all about the way you carry yourself. “A badass is a woman who has confidence in herself, along with a bit of attitude and some swag.”
Athlete inspirations: In gymnastics, Biles has always been surrounded by driven women, but as it turns out, she actually looks outside her own sport when she needs that extra inspo. “I admire Serena Williams so much,” said Biles of the tennis pro. “Her power as an athlete and a woman, combined with her strength and grace on and off the court, make her a total badass.”
Inner obstacles: “The biggest obstacle that I’ve had to overcome is learning to have confidence in my abilities,” she says. “When I believe in myself, it always puts my nerves at ease and allows me to be my best.”
Reaching new heights: “Winning the Individual All Around gold medal at the 2016 Olympics was pretty badass,” she says. “I worked extremely hard leading up to that competition. I gave it my all and left everything out on the floor. It was an incredible feeling to see all of my work pay off and my dreams come true.”
The toughest part of her days: “Consistency is the hardest part,” she says. “There’s a certain expectation that I will always perform at the same level that I have previously or higher. This is especially difficult because I only compete a few times a year, so you can’t really have an off day.”
Sage advice: When Biles needs a pep talk, she turns to her mom because, well, mother really does know best. “My mother has always told me ‘Be the best Simone that you can be.’ It’s great advice because the most important thing is to be yourself and not compare yourself to others,” she says.
For more stories like this, pick up the February issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download now.