Gold Medalist Olympian Simone Biles is not fat. I don’t need to tell you that, I realize, but somebody needed to tell her coach that in 2013. Simone, who was one of Glamour’s Women of the Year, has written a book, Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance. The book covers her childhood to her five medals in Rio last summer. Simone appeared on Today with Hoda Kotb and spoke about the account from her book when a coach said she wasn’t performing well because she was “too fat.”
Speaking to Today’s Hoda Kotb, the 19-year-old opened up about some of her struggles — including the time she was body-shamed by a coach.
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.”
Somewhere Zac Efron just grabbed his wiffle-ball bat and bought a ticket to Texas. Were it me, I’d use my endorsement money to hire a marching band to parade in front of this guy’s house every morning at 3AM.But Simone is as gracious as she is accomplished. She’s using the opportunity to remind coaches of the power of positive reinforcement, which, I suppose, is better than my plan. In her book Simone also discusses her adoption, her time in foster care, being homeschooled, her love for gymnastics and her biological mother. But even though she wrote about her past, Simone always looks forward. When asked whether she can beat her Rio medal count in Tokyo 2020, Simone saw ahead and higher, saying, “I think anyone can get better, as long as you put your mind to it. You set new goals, so I don’t know if I can, but I hope I can.”
If you are looking for Christmas presents, a Disney Imagineer who went to school with Simone’s brothers has drawn a lovely book about Simon and the rest of the US Olympic team. Also, those on the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastic Champions did the Mannequin Challenge. How do they do this? I did ribbons when I was a gymnast so that’s my favorite part in this because honestly, that is how my routines usually ended up.
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