Three-time U.S. all-around gymnastics champion Simone Biles easily took her fourth national title on Sunday – and for gymnastics fans, her sweeping victory came as no surprise.
Biles, 19, is the clear frontrunner to win gold at the Rio Games this summer and if she does, it will be even more momentous considering the teenager’s journey to the top.
The bubbly 4-foot-8 Olympic hopeful with twinkling eyes and an infectious giggle was born to a mother addicted to drugs and alcohol. As a young child she was placed in foster care before she could be adopted by her maternal grandfather, Ron, and his wife, Nellie.
Biles, who considers Ron and Nellie her parents, says she wouldn’t be where she is today – the greatest in her sport – without them.
“[They] support me in any way possible,” Biles told PEOPLE at the 2016 Team USA Los Angeles Media Summit in March. “My parents make sure we have everything we need so that we compete to the best of our abilities.”
Nellie and Ron officially adopted Biles and her sister Adria in 2003, and raised the girls together in Texas.
At the age of six, the loving parents enrolled Biles in a gymnastics class in Houston, Texas. Her incredible athleticism and zest for the sport was undeniable from the start.
Nellie says it “was history from there.”