VetFamily: Simone Biles, Olympic Gold Medalist & Daughter of AF Veteran
All of America knows the name of dominant gymnast and four-time gold medalist Simone Biles. Many fans do not know, however, that she comes from a military family. Biles was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1997 to an absent father and mother struggling with alcoholism and addiction. Biles and her sister cycled through foster homes, until 2003, when their maternal grandfather Ron and his second-wife Nellie adopted the girls.
Ron – whom Biles refers to as her father – is an Air Force vet. He met Nellie in 1976 while stationed at Randolph Air Force base outside San Antonio, Texas. They married the following year and have enjoyed almost 40 years of marriage. “I am so proud of my father, who served in the Air Force for 21 years,” Simon Biles said in a recent interview with Us Weekly.
With fourteen World Championship medals, ten of them gold, Biles is the most decorated American female gymnast in Worlds' history. Her performance at the Rio games - where she’s earned exemplary all-around scores and four-gold medals - has been widely hailed as the greatest in Olympic history. In addition to swelling with pride for his daughter, Ron Biles hopes that their story will bring positive attention to adoption, encouraging parents to adopt or foster children.
“Raising kids is just a wonderful thing,” he said in an interview with USA Today. “You get to see them grow and be a part of that and I can’t think of anything more satisfying. It is an important issue and I could only say good things about it.” She took things day by day, meet by meet,” the Air Force vet continued. “Wow. I just say thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so amazed by her."