The darling of Rio 2016 opens up about her "dream come true"
Simone Biles is all smiles. Wearing a black track suit, she’s relaxed and carefree as she sits down with PEOPLE on Friday in Rio to recount the best two weeks of her life.
By any standard, the Rio Olympics have been incredible for the 19-year-old gymnast. First she won the gold in the team all-around competition. Then, she won gold medals in the individual all-around, the vault and the floor routine. She took bronze in the beam. In total, she’ll leave Rio with five medals – impressive for her first appearance at the Olympics.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet,” Biles tells PEOPLE while sitting in a lounge at the P&> Family Home. “It hasn’t really hit me. I’m sure it will at some point, but it’s been an amazing time in Rio, and I’ve just been enjoying every moment.”
With the Olympics behind her, Biles smiles widely when recounting the best moments. “The team competition was my favorite part. Everyone worked so hard, and we can cherish the medal together as a team. We’ll always have a bond.”
Biles, a huge fan of social media, has noticed a lot of fan interaction on Twitter, including young girls who want to enroll in gymnastics. “I love seeing girls who are interested in the sport,” she says. “And I hope they can pick out some cute leotards and convince their parents to buy them! Maybe some GK Simone ones.” (Yes, she has her own leotard line.)
“I want girls to really enjoy gymnastics. You’ve got to have fun out there. And it’s a way to be strong and empowered for young girls, which I think is so important.”
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“He was so nice,” she gushes. “He was really genuine and we had a great conversation. He’s a normal person; he’s just been in movies! I was a fan of him before, and I’m a bigger fan of him now!”
As a five-time medalist, Biles is now fielding new opportunities. Among others, she is partnering with Proctor and Gamble to endorse Tide pods laundry detergent. (“They’re small but powerful – like me,” she says.)
The Final Five will soon go on tour, performing gymnastic routines across the country. “Oh, I’m so excited,” she says. “There’s no pressure. You just go out there, do some gymnastics, have some fun and interact with the crowd. It’ll be so much fun.”
And will she return for another Olympics? Probably – but that’s a long way off. “I’m just going to enjoy the moment that I’m in,” she says. “I’ve had the time of my life here. I can’t wait to see what’s next.”