Simone Biles Sweetly Surprises Unsuspecting Young Gymnasts at Tour Event: 'Are You Shocked?'
Simone Biles made some unsuspecting young athletes' very happy last month — and PEOPLE has an exclusive look at the sweet moment.
During the Brooklyn, New York, stop of Biles' Athleta Presents Gold Over America Tour on Nov. 6, the decorated Olympic gymnast crashed a photoshoot with gymnasts from the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation. Hilliard was the first African American to represent the U.S. on the rhythmic gymnastics national team and now is committed to working with underserved urban youth through her gymnastics program.
In the video, the groups of girls pose together in front of a photo backdrop for what they were told was just a shoot with Athleta. After an offscreen voice prompts that someone is missing from the group, Biles — wearing a pink, two-piece athleticwear ensemble — enters. The girls react with gasps and squeals.
Says Biles to the young women, "Are you shocked? Was it a good surprise?" The 24-year-old also encourages the rising gymnasts that they "look amazing."
The video comes ahead of the Gold Over America Tour livestream event on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. EST. Those who were unable to attend the gymnastics competition-meets-concert experience will be able to watch a recording of the show.
This week, Biles was revealed as one of PEOPLE's 2021 People of the Year, highlighted for her work to champion mental health.
Biles was candid with the public as she grappled with the intense pressure of competing on the Olympic stage this past summer in Tokyo. During the Games, Biles removed herself from four out of five event finals due to a case of the "twisties," a condition gymnasts can experience when they lose air awareness, ultimately putting them at risk for injury when they land. She explained at the time that she withdrew from the competition to focus on her mental wellness, saying on social media that her "mind & body are simply not in sync."
This entire year, and her experiences in Japan, have been humbling, Biles said "Now, internally, I know who I am and what I want to do."
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"That's probably one of the first times in my career where I felt courageous and I felt like I had got to speak up for myself," she said PEOPLE. Added Biles, "[I] definitely can walk away from Tokyo, feeling courage, feeling at ease. And I did everything I could."
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