We love when stars encourage others to find their light! In a recent interview, 20-year-old Jordan Chiles revealed that just when she was on the brink of walking away from gymnastics, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles gave her a push to keep going.
During a conversation with the New York Times, Chiles talked about the momentum she was gaining as a gymnast in 2017. She won 2nd place at the national championship’s all-around competition, but ultimately was not selected to compete at the world championships. After this devastating exclusion, Chiles began to seriously consider whether she would move forward with the sport.
“I didn’t think the sport wanted me anymore…So I went in the opposite direction,” she said.
Chiles has been competing for nearly 15 years.
She is currently a student at UCLA, whose famed 2021 gymnastics team, which included Sekai Wright, Margzetta Frazier, Nia Dennis and Chae Campbell, starred on the second-ever digital cover for ESSENCE Girls United.
After feeling as if her career was coming to a halt, Chiles began to deviate from her strict regimen and took another blow when she landed in 11th place at the 2018 nationals. She was ready to throw in the towel, but then she had a life changing talk with Simone Biles.
At the end of 2018, Biles gave Chiles the offer of a lifetime, suggesting Chiles relocate to Spring, Texas (where Biles lives) and train at her gym with her coaches Cecile and Laurent Landi. Chiles finished high school, engaging in all of the fun, memorable activities like prom and graduation, and landed in Texas within days of wrapping up her high school studies. Once the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed, she had extra time to prepare, strengthening her skills.
When they competed during the Senior Women’s competition of the the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Biles took home the gold, while Chiles took the silver.
On Sunday, June 27, both women qualified for the July Olympics at trials. Sisterhood always wins.
Watch the top moments from the first weekend of Essence Fest 2021 below.