Gymnastics News Network
By: Nicole Chappell
Simone Biles, who is our reigning World Champion, 2016 Olympic Gymnastics All-Around winner, and Gold medal team member, has encountered her fair share of triumphs in her early years. Unfortunately, due to an ongoing substance abuse issue, both Simone’s biological mother and father were unable to care for her and her siblings. In a sad turn of events, Biles found herself in the foster care system for some time before being adopted by her grandparents.
For those not knowledgeable of the foster care process, when a parent is unable to care for their child, they are placed with a designated foster family until the parents can prove their stability, or complete specific goals as set out by the court. If these objectives are met, the children may return to home, but if not met, the parent may either choose to sign over their rights to a family member or adoptive family, or parents may lose their rights involuntarily. Often times, it may take weeks to years before a child can be placed with alternate family members during this traumatic time.
Thankfully, Simone and her sister were graciously adopted by her biological grandfather and step-grandmother after her biological mother relinquished her own parental rights. Rightfully so, since the age of six, Simone has referred to them as her “Mom” and “Dad”.
As expected, with the Olympics putting Simone in the media spotlight, rumors about her childhood have begun to surface. After a televised interview with Simone’s Mom and Dad (grandparents) on NBC explaining her situation growing up, her biological mother, Shanon Biles, took to TMZ to set the record straight and advocate for her character.
Shanon Biles claims that during the NBC interview, her character was defamed and misinterpreted. Admitting to her troublesome past, Shanon claims to have now overcome those struggles and states that she has been living a sober lifestyle for almost the past decade. The information provided in the interview by Simone’s Dad (grandfather), has now caused some tension in the already-strained family. Despite blaming her father for her distanced relationship with her daughter Simone, Shanon explains that she respects her parents and is thankful for the life they have been able to provide for Simone, but the inaccurate portrayal of her character was undeserved.
Claiming to only have interviewed with TMZ as a means to set the record straight, many gymnastics fans speculate that Shanon Biles’ intentions were more geared toward monetary gain. With a daughter in the Olympic spotlight and debuting in countless sponsored ads, it is indeed questionable as to if Simone’s biological mother was waiting for an opportunity to ride on her daughter’s celebrity coattails by selling a story to the media. Whatever the intention, we hope that the Biles family can resolve their disagreements and come together as a unit.
Looking at the bigger picture, we can see that Simone’s challenges were only a stepping stone toward her greatness. With her Mom and Dad (grandparents) stepping in to raise her, she has been given an invaluable foundation and supportive upbringing that has molded her into the confident, hardworking, and determined champion she is today. Simone Biles shows us that our past experiences do not define us, but can be harnessed as a motivator in attaining our dreams. From us at GNN, we wish Simone the best of luck on the remainder of her Olympic journey and hopefully more GOLD in the event finals.
Sources: TMZ, International Business Times
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