Simone Biles’ new book, Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance, recounts her evolution from a Texas tot to four-time gold medalist at the Rio Olympics. But her journey to the top wasn’t always easy.
It was in 2013 at a meet where Biles wasn’t performing as well as she had hoped.
“You overheard a coach say, ‘You know why she crashed? Because she’s too fat — that’s why. How does she expect to compete like that?’ ” Kotb prompted.
Biles said it was a hard comment for her to hear. “I dismissed myself from the floor so nobody could see me and I walked to the back behind the curtains and I was crying.”
But thanks to some inspirational words from her head team coordinator, Martha Karolyi, Biles managed to find the courage to pick herself up and move past the moment.
“Martha pulled me back on the floor and she gave me a little bit of a pep talk and was like, ‘See, you can’t train like this and let the results show,’ ” Biles said. “So I went back to the gym and I did as told. Her pep talk kind of gave me a little bit of an up rather than a down.”
“It felt good to hear her,” Biles added. “Because I was terrified she was going to be upset with me.”
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In Courage to Soar, Biles also opens up about being adopted, her time in foster care, being homeschooled, discovering her love for gymnastics and her relationship with her biological mother — who suffered from substance abuse.
“It’s another part of my life I’ve grown up with so I thought I should share it so people knew it, too,” Biles said, of writing about her biological mother.
The gymnast also told Kotb that while some wanted her to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she knew she “wasn’t ready.”
“I knew deep in my heart I couldn’t hang with those girls,” she said. “There’s no way.”