'The important thing' Simone Biles' mom wants her daughter to know before the Paris Olympics


The world will be watching if and when Simone Biles goes for gold at the Summer Olympics in Paris, but perhaps no one will be more invested in what the legendary gymnast does than her mother.

Biles has won four Olympic gold medals — plus one silver and a pair of bronze — as well as secured a record ninth all-around national championship title, but her mother, Nellie Biles, sees beyond an athlete who dominates her sport.

“The Simone that I know is a young adult that I admire. She knows what she wants,” Nellie Biles told Priscilla Thompson in an exclusive interview that aired on TODAY June 13.

Nellie Biles goes to virtually all of her daughter’s meets and her reactions to watching her often go viral. She says watching Simone is a real nail-biting experience.

“All I’m thinking about and praying for is that she stays safe and that she ends that routine. I could hardly wait for it to be over with,” she said.

Simone Biles competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and the 2021 Games in Tokyo, but her mother couldn’t make the trip to Japan, due to COVID restrictions. The Tokyo Olympics were where her daughter had the “twisties,” when a gymnast loses her place in the air. Simone Biles pulled out of multiple events and her mother said it was a tough time.

“It was devastating,” she said. “After her vaulting, she called me and then mentioned that she couldn’t do it anymore. My words to Simone was, ‘Don’t do it. Don’t feel like you need to push yourself because that’s the last thing I need is to see you injure yourself on television and I’m not going to be there.’”

Because she won the all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships earlier this month in Fort Worth, Texas, Biles automatically qualified for the Olympic trials, scheduled for June 27 through June 30 in Minneapolis. The five gymnasts who will make up the roster for the team will be announced at the competition.

This time around, Nellie Biles plans to be in Paris to cheer on her daughter should her daughter qualify. She also understands what her role is.

“The important thing is to be there for Simone and making sure that she understands that her family is there giving her her full support,” she said. “And I am going to be really happy and probably shedding a few tears just because I’m going to be so emotional.”

Simone Biles recently said in a press conference that she admires her parents, a statement that really touched her mother.

“It means a lot,” she said. “I feel like we have done the right thing. And, so, yes, we did something right in her life.”

Biles remains a favorite to make the Olympic squad and the Summer Games kick off July 26, with women’s gymnastics getting underway July 28 at 5 a.m. ET.