Simone Biles, 24, is known to the world as an exceptional, Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, and she has her parents, Ronald and Nellie Biles to thank for their ongoing love and support in the process. Ronald and Nellie are actually Simone’s adoptive parents — and biological grandparents! — but that doesn’t make them any less loving toward their all-star gymnast daughter.
“[A]ppreciation post for my sweet parents,” Simone captioned an Instagram post on June 29. “[T]hanks for making sacrifices since day 1 so I can live out my dream. [B]ut most importantly thanks for always being there for me through all the highs and lows. You guys are the absolute best. I love y’all.”
Find out more about Ronald and Nellie below!
Nellie & Ronald Are Simone’s Adoptive Parents & Biological Grandparents
Ronald and Nellie are actually Simone’s adoptive parents and biological grandparents, as her mother, Shannon Biles, was unable to care for she and her four other siblings, Adria, Ashley, and Tevin due to her struggles with alcohol and drugs. “I never had mom to run to. I do remember always being hungry and afraid,” Simone said during a TV appearance while on Dancing With the Stars in 2017. Nellie and and Ronald then stepped in, telling Simone and her sister Adria to call them “mom” and “dad,” which Simone said they gladly did. (Ashley and Tevin were taken in by Ronald’s sister.)
“I remember praying for that bonding,” Nellie once told Women’s Health of her experience as an adoptive parent. “Because telling them that you love them and you care for them; that’s all words. But then you wake up one day, and you realize that you would do anything for these children. And that you would die for these children. And when that feeling comes, that’s when you know you are truly a mother.”
“I knew I had my own barriers because these were not my biological children,” Nellie also revealed in the Facebook Watch series Simone vs. Herself. “You do everything that’s nurturing, that’s mothering, but emotionally, you still have to be there 100%,” she said.
During the DWTS segment, Simone emphasized how Nellie and Ronald “saved” her, paving the way for her future and instilling the values she carries with her to this day. “They’ve set huge examples of how to treat other people, and they’ve been there to support me since day one,” she explained. “There’s nothing I could say to them to thank them enough.”
Simone Keeps In Touch With Her Biological Mother Shannon
Although it’s Ronald and Nellie who have served as Simone’s main parental figures, she still keeps in touch with her biological mother Shannon from time to time. In a 2016 Daily Mail interview, Shannon opened up about her difficult decision to give her children up for adoption. “It was hard to give up my kids, but I had to do what I had to. I wasn’t able to care for them,” the mother-of-four explained, adding that she and Simone sometimes have brief conversations and that she is “proud” of all she’s accomplished.
During the interview, Shannon also shared that Simone’s biological father, Kelvin Clemons, has not kept in touch with Simone.
Nellie & Ronald Own A Gymnastics Center
Nellie and Ronald own a gymnastics center in Spring, Texas, called World Champions Centre. Simone also practices at the center, and a central tenet of the training ground is inclusivity, to welcome athletes from all races and backgrounds — something close to Simone’s heart. “Representation matters, and we want to inspire the next generation to pursue their passion,” the Olympian told Health in June.
They Weren’t Present At The Tokyo Olympics
Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Nellie and Ronald were unable to attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to cheer on their daughter — something that was undoubtedly difficult for all parties involved. “[N]ot me crying on the plane because I’ll miss my family & friends,” Simone tweeted in July ahead of the event.
not me crying on the plane because I’ll miss my family & friends
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 14, 2021
Even though the pair couldn’t make the event in-person, they obviously cheered on their girl at home, surrounded by family and friends. In addition, they showed their support on social media. “I am going to miss this but just know that I will be in Tokyo in spirit,” Nellie wrote in a touching Instagram post at the time. “May The Lord continue to guide and keep you. Just be The Best Simone.