In the last world Olympics in Rio, Brazil, my attention was caught by one now being touted as the “best athlete in the world” – 19-year-old Simone Biles. She has become the most decorated gold medalist in World Olympics gymnastics history.
Getty NBC Olympics describes her in varied ways: “Best ever.” “The perfect 10.” “The best gymnast in history.” “Unbeatable.” “Stunning.” “Breathtaking.” “A legend in the making.”
It usually takes a lot of foundational support and resources since childhood to produce one like Simone. In my mind, this little girl may have come from a well-privileged and affluent family, which provides all that’s needed to develop a champion athlete. A set of loving father and mother who love, guide, and encourage her. The best the world has to offer in terms of mentors, trainings, and logistics.
I was inaccurate.
Simone and her siblings were born into a fatherless, drug-abusing family. Her father abandoned her mother and was never present in Simone’s life as well as that of her siblings. In her childhood, Simone and her 3 siblings were shuffled back and forth between their addict-mother’s house and a foster home.
Until she was adopted by a loving Christian family in Texas USA. That made the difference. Simone was saved in time by positive role models and surrogate parents who raised her. It’s encouraging to note that there is always new hope for children of broken homes. It’s a myth that one becomes a “permanent loser” when originated from a broken family.
In my exploration of Simone’s life from adoption onwards, I wondered about her starting point of becoming an achiever rather than a clone of her biological parents. I found out that she remains forgiving, humble, and forward-looking. She has learned to separate out her mother and father’s problems from hers. She has become determined never to repeat what she saw her parents do to themselves.