Simone Biles Opens Up About The Time A Former Coach Said She Was “Too Fat”
When you look at gymnast Simone Biles, the last thing that likely comes to mind is “fat.” Strong, yes. Toned? Indeed. But overweight? Probably not.
However, Biles overheard a former coach say that she was struggling to perform well because she’s fat. It was something that would stay with the 19-year-old, but also push her to love her body.
She recounted the incident in her new book, Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance and talked about it in a recent chat with People.
Happy National Gymnastics’ Day! It didn’t always look like it would be possible for me to achieve my childhood dream to become a gymnastics champion. Thankful to my family and others who have supported me through the ups and downs of it all—I couldn’t have made it without you. Learn more about my journey in my book, Courage to Soar. Hope it inspires you to pursue your dream too. – http://bit.ly/2bVjUfQ
“It was really hard, because growing up I never felt overweight or fat, so it shocked me like, ‘Why would he say that?’” Biles said. “But in a way it actually shaped me for the better, because it just taught me to rise above and to love my body no matter what.”
According to her book, the male coach was overheard saying after an underwhelming meet performance that, “You know why she crashed? Because she’s too fat — that’s why. How does she expect to compete like that?”
In an interview with Hoda Kotb on Today Wednesday morning, Biles recounted how she reacted to the comments.
“I dismissed myself from the floor so nobody could see me,” she said. “And I walked to the back behind the curtains, and I was crying.” She eventually moved past the comments with the help of legendary team coordinator, Martha Karolyi.
Biles said that being a gymnast, her body has always been critiqued and on display, and it can be hard. “It’s hard growing up in a sport where you compete with very little clothing on your body and everyone is staring at [your body] no matter how good you are,” she said. “No matter how good you are at the sport, people will always say you don’t look good enough.”
However, she said that she has the body God gave her for a reason, and she’s lucky enough to use it for something she loves. It’s a conversation she’s had with her Olympic teammates.
“We’ll talk about it because we’re all going through the exact same thing,” she said. “But we’re all born with unique types of bodies, and we’ve proved that you can have any type of body and be good.”
Biles’s book was released on Tuesday.
Image via Shutterstock