This article originally appeared on TIME.com
I always keep up with gymnastics because I love the Olympics. But what struck me when I first saw Simone in Rio was how perfect she was at everything. That girl was born to do what she does.
And she is the best at it. Not the best black gymnast, not the best black-girl gymnast. The best gymnast. It really is inspiring. It’s like she’s sending a message to everyone who’s watching: No matter what you’re going through in life or what your circumstances are, you still can be No. 1. You’ve just got to work hard.
Of course, it’s important to have fun too. Simone is just 20 years old. She shouldn’t have to take life too seriously just yet. When I met Simone, I could tell that she knew that. She was always smiling, and she gives off this attitude of wanting to enjoy every moment to the fullest.
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Simone is a very extraordinary person, and she’s going to be a very extraordinary grownup.
Jones, a featured player on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, served as an Olympics correspondent in Rio