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VetFamily: Simone Biles

Simone Biles

Olympic medalist Simone Biles re-entered the spotlight recently as the most decorated gymnast of all time, winning her 34th medal at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships this month in Antwerp, Belgium. In the stands to cheer her on was her dad Ron Biles, a United States Air Force veteran.

Ron is Simone’s biological grandfather, but he and his second wife Nellie adopted the young athlete and her sister in 2003 at the age of 6. Simone gave an interview to US Weekly, and she mentioned her grandfather, who she now refers to as “dad.” She said, “I am so proud of my father, who served in the Air Force for 21 years.” 

Ron had been stationed in San Antonio, TX when he met his wife. They raised Simone in Texas and have been huge supporters of her prolific gymnastics career since her first trip to the gym as a six year old.

Simone began her career in 2011 at the American Classic in Houston. She placed third all-around, first on vault and balance beam, fourth on floor exercise, and eighth on uneven bars. In 2012, she switched from public school to homeschooling to focus on her gymnastics training. 

In 2012, she made her second appearance at the Visa Championships, and after finishing third all-around, first on vault, sixth on uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise, she was named to the United States Junior National team. 

Once she joined the team, Biles’ career took off. In 2013, she won her first world all-around title at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, becoming the seventh American woman and the first African-American to win the world all-around title. Biles continued her remarkable career in 2014 and 2015, winning the world all-around championships back to back to back, making her the first woman to pull off the consecutive feat. 

In 2014, her parents started the World Champions Centre, a training facility in Spring, Texas. The couple opened the gym so their daughter could continue to train with her longtime coach, Aimee Boorman, without hopping from gym to gym based on Boorman's employment.

Biles competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics and won individual gold medals in the all-around, vault, and floor; bronze on balance beam; and gold as part of the United States team. She beat American teammate and all-around silver medalist Aly Raisman by 2.1 points, the largest margin of victory in competition history. 

"She took things day by day, meet by meet. Wow. I just say thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so amazed by her,” her dad said in 2016.

The gymnast competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which was the only competition her parents were unable to attend due to the pandemic. She withdrew from the competition to prioritize her mental health, citing not having her parents in the audience as one of her reasons

Simone married NFL player Jonathan Owens this year and her Air Force vet father walked her down the aisle. This month a fifth skill was named after her when the National Governing Board of Gymnastics announced that, after the 26-year old became the first woman to successfully perform the Yurchenko double pike during the championships, the skill would be named "Biles II."

“She's just amazing," Ron said in an interview when Simone was on “Dancing with the Stars.” "She surprises me."

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