Simone Biles was greeted by cheering fans at the airport in Houston and then at a parade in her hometown of Spring, Texas Thursday (August 5).
Hundreds of supporters cheered and chanted “U.S.A.!” as BIles and her gymnastics teammate Jordan Chiles walked off the plane at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
After the short drive to Biles’ hometown of Spring, the star gymnast then waved from the backseat of a convertible to the throngs of supporters lining a parade route just before the sun went down in Texas.
While Biles did not rewrite the Olympic record book as planned, she did leave an indelible mark on the Tokyo Games, changing the narrative from winning medals to championing athlete mental health and well-being.
Suddenly everyday conversation revolved around the “the twisties”, a type of mental block where gymnasts are disoriented during their gravity-defying skills and something few outside the sport had heard of prior to the Tokyo Olympics.
The 24-year-old had come to Japan eyeing a record haul of six golds, which would have made her the most successful female Olympian of all-time across any sport. But instead she suffered a crisis of confidence dropping out of the opening event, the team competition, after just one vault.
(Production: David Grip)