For Simone Biles, seeing was believing.
The 30-time World and Olympic gymnastics medallist delivered an inspirational message to a digital audience over the weekend for a Project Glimmer fundraiser, saying that watching Gabby Douglas win all-around Olympic gold at London 2012 made her believe she could, too.
“Growing up, I didn't see very many black gymnasts, so whenever I did, I felt really inspired to go out there. I wanted to be as good as they were,” Biles recalled. “I remember watching Gabby Douglas win the 2012 Olympics and I was like, 'if she can do it, I can do it.'”
Project Glimmer is a non-profit that provides financial assistance to under-served women, including those in the foster care system of which Biles was once part. The four-time Olympic champion noted in her remarks that nearly 400,000 children and youth are currently in foster care in the United States.
“In my mind, those are four hundred thousand talents waiting to be discovered,” said Biles. “They simply lack the support and often the financial resources and opportunity to realise their potential. Working to help support foster youth means everything to me. I know what it's like. At age 5, that was me. I stood in those shoes. To now be an ambassador for this community is very fulfilling.”
Biles closed her remarks with her advice, her dreams for those young girls who might be looking up to her the same way she once did to Douglas.
“To any girls listening to me now, I say you can do it. You just have to be the first. The first to share your story, your advice, your words, and people will follow,” Biles said. “Together, we can inspire every girl to find her voice, to dream big, to create her own definition of beauty, to believe in her power, to find her purpose, to imagine a better future. If I can do it, she can do it, too.”