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Simone Biles talks Olympics, Larry Nassar and protests in Vogue

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She’s the most decorated American gymnast in the world — and now Simone Biles can add a Vogue cover to her mantle, too.

The 23-year-old made her debut in the fashion bible’s August issue, opening up about the Olympics being postponed due to the coronavirus, the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal and the nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.

“I felt kind of torn and broken,” Biles — who is widely regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time — said about learning she’d have to wait until next July to compete in the Olympic Games.

“Obviously it was the right decision, but to have it finalized — in a way, you feel defeated because you’ve worked so hard.”

In quarantine, Biles, who holds 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, tried to stay in shape by doing twerk YouTube videos and handstand challenges. She was finally able to resume training in mid-May after the World Champions Centre reopened, the mag reported.

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But it wasn’t just having to rearrange her training plans that brought Biles to tears — she also dreaded having to work with USA Gymnastics for an extra year.

“I just started crying,” she said. “Another year of dealing with USAG. That, I don’t know if I can take.”

The elite athlete has been an outspoken critic of the organization amid the scandal involving its disgraced former doctor Larry Nassar, who is serving a life sentence on charges of child pornography and sexual misconduct.

Simone Biles photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the cover of Vogue
Simone Biles photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the cover of VogueAnnie Leibovitz

She explained why it had been important for her to come forward, in January 2018, about the abuse she suffered at Nassar’s hands.

“For me, it was a weight that I carried so heavily on my chest, so I felt like, if I shared it with people, then it would be a relief for me,” Biles told the glossy.

“And I knew that by sharing my story, I would help other survivors feel comfortable and safe in coming forward.”

In January, USAG offered Nassar’s victims, including Biles, a $215 million settlement as part of a plan to exit bankruptcy — but Biles said money alone won’t address all the wrongs.

“We need to figure out why it happened, when it happened, and who knew what, when,” Biles said.

“We can’t feel comfortable promoting our sport if we fear that something might happen like this again because they’re not doing their part,” she continued, referring to USAG and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

The cover story also quotes Biles speaking about her experiences with racism in the sport during an event in Manhattan in March at the Lower Eastside Girls Club.

“They focused on my hair. They focused on how big my legs were,” she told the dozens of tween girls.

Simone Biles of USA performs on Uneven Bars during the Women's Team Finals on Day 5 of FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships on October 08, 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany.
Biles performs on the uneven bars during the Women’s Team Finals of FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships on Oct. 8, 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany.Getty Images

“But God made me this way, and I feel like if I didn’t have these legs or these calves, I wouldn’t be able to tumble as high as I can and have all of these moves named after me.”

Speaking to the mag about the widespread protests sparked by the May 25 police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Biles said: “We need change.”

“We need justice for the Black community,” Biles continued. “With the peaceful protests, it’s the start of change, but it’s sad that it took all of this for people to listen.”

“Racism and injustice have existed for years with the Black community. How many times has this happened before we had cell phones?”

“We tried peaceful protesting,” Biles added, citing Colin Kaepernick, who was infamously shunned from the NFL after kneeling during the national anthem.

“They took his whole entire career away from that poor man. And look at us now,” she said. “It’s working. You just have to be the first and people will follow.”

Read More at NYPost

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