The world’s most decorated gymnast, Simone Biles, sat down with People to discuss Michelle Obama. Biles recalled the time she went to the White House after her success at the Rio Olympics.
“She was so down to earth and so much fun,” Biles told the magazine. “I really enjoyed my visit, and I cherish those memories.”
Biles says the advice that the former first lady gave her will stick with her.
“For me, as an African American woman, something she said that I took to heart was ‘When they go low, we go high,” Biles recalled Obama’s mantra during the 2016 Democratic National Convention. “That’ll always stick with me, especially being an African American. I like that one a lot.”
The gymnast says Obama is the reason she can break barriers.
“She is such a role model that it makes you want to be the first in your category to do something, to strive to perfection,” Biles said.
When Biles won 6 U.S. all-around titles at the U.S.A. Gymnastics Championship, Obama congratulated her, tweeting, “Always breaking barriers, @Simone_Biles — couldn’t be more proud of you!”
Biles has plans to break down more barriers. During a 60 Minutes interview, the Olympic champion was shown training a Yurchenko double pike vault — no woman in gymnastics has tried to execute this action. According to USA Today, if Biles decides to perform this move, the International Gymnastics Federation will have to give it value.
“In assigning values to the new elements, the WTC takes into consideration many different aspects; the risk, the safety of the gymnasts, and the technical direction of the discipline,” the women’s technical committee said. “There is added risk in landing of double saltos for beam dismounts (with/without twists). including a potential landing on the neck.”