Last year’s postponement of the Tokyo Summer Olympics deprived us of seeing another display of greatness and likely gold medal-winning performance from U.S. gymnast Simone Biles. Hopefully, Olympics and gymnastics fans will get the opportunity to see Biles achieve glory this summer. Yet there are still rumblings that Tokyo might cancel the 2021 Games due to COVID-19 concerns.
In an interview with 60 Minutes shown on Sunday, Biles, 23, admitted that continuing to train for the postponed 2021 Olympics wasn’t something she initially wanted to do. Mentally, she targeted the 2020 Games as the end of her Olympic career and it was difficult to push herself through another year when the end was previously in sight.
If you missed it Sunday night, the entire piece by reporter Sharyn Alfonsi is worth watching. You can watch the segment below. (Unfortunately, the entire interview isn’t available on YouTube and it appears that the additional “Overtime” content is on CBS All Access.)
The profile covers Biles’s entire career to this point, from her upbringing in poverty in Columbus, Ohio to being adopted and raised by her maternal grandfather in Spring, Texas. Alfonsi also speaks with Biles’s coaches, Cecile and Laurent Landi, about training to perform a Yurchenko double pike on the vault, something only male gymnasts have been able to achieve.
Additionally, Biles talks about her experience training with Márta Károlyi at the legendary Károlyi Ranch near Houston, Texas, and her difficulties in living under Károlyi’s very strict standards. Her time at the Károlyi Ranch also included encounters with Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar, who abused her along with more than 300 other female gymnasts.
Ultimately, the 60 Minutes piece explains what makes Biles such a special athlete, what she does better than any of her peers, her fearlessness as a competitor, and how she continues to push herself at an age when most female gymnasts are no longer at their peak. It’s a reminder of how fortunate we are as sports fans to watch her achieve success at the highest level, performing routines we’ve never seen before.