‘The Simone Biles Story’: How a Gold Medalist Was Made

Simone Biles, lifetime, movie
Simone Biles, lifetime, movie

When petite powerhouse gymnast Simone Biles won all-around gold at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics, she became the most decorated member ever of America’s sparkly leotard club with 19 Olympic and World Championships medals. Now she gets the Lifetime biopic treatment in The Simone Biles Story, with Jeanté Godlock portraying the 4’8″ spitfire and based on the onetime foster kid’s own candid autobiography, Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance.

“No journey is a straight shot. You have bumps in the road,” says the matter-of-fact, sweet and friendly Biles, now 20, who started training at age 6 and has grappled with scary falls, an ADHD diagnosis, frustrating losses and what she terms her “bratty period” teen years, where she resented missing out on high school dances and football games.

Her emotional spotters are hardworking, churchgoing dad Ron (Julius Tennon) and mom Nellie Biles (Tisha Campbell-Martin), the grandparents who adopted Simone and sister Adria (Raven Bowens) when the girls’ mom couldn’t care for them.

“I am who I am because of them,” Biles says. “You’re not an Olympian from birth. You work for it. Once you push through those hard times, that’s when you have the fun and the achievements.”

The Simone Biles Story: Courage to Soar, Movie Premiere, Saturday, Feb. 3, 8/7c, Lifetime