Chiles had thoughts of quitting gymnastics in 2018. Despite being pegged as a rising star, Chiles was “sick” of the sport and how it made her feel. “I didn’t think the sport wanted me anymore,” Chiles said in a video interview, according to the Times. “So I went in the opposite direction.”
In the interview, Chiles recalled feeling her confidence crushed and being “checked out from the sport” because of methods practiced by some of her coaches including extreme watching of her food intake and comments on her body. She was told not to lift a single weight or gain an ounce, she said, because she was already “so muscular.” Since her hair was thick and textured it was considered “too poufy” and people made comments that it looked like she had two heads when she twisted.
After not being selected to compete at the world championships in 2018, she started to feel like the sport wasn’t for her. She instead decided to just finish high school and go to college, but that’s before she spoke to Biles who encouraged her to train together in Texas with the coaches Cecile and Laurent Landi. Two days after her high school graduation and four weeks before the U.S. Classic, Chiles moved.
“We always knew she was super talented, but I remember seeing her at Classic and being shocked at how good she looked,” Cecile Landi said in a telephone interview with the Times. “Laurent and I were like, ‘Wait, hold on, wow, this is just the beginning.’”
Through Biles’ support and sisterhood, Chiles regained her dream for the Olympics and with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed had more time to perfect her skills. Years before Chiles and Biles had already made headlines as an unstoppable future duo, and training together only made them better.
Both competed during the Senior Women’s competition of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships and while Biles took home the gold, Chiles took the silver. “I discovered that gymnastics doesn’t always have to be about strictness and being so hard on yourself and having so much doubt,” she said. “I actually realized this when I saw Simone compete. She looks like she’s having fun out there, laughing and giggling, and doesn’t look stressed or tired. I was like, ‘You know, I’m going to try that one of these days and see how it turns out.’”
Then on June 27, both women qualified for the July Olympics at trials.
“I’m so proud of you, girl,” Biles said to Chiles in the tear-jerking moment. Photos and videos of the two athletes went viral with tears of joy depicting the monumental moment in which Chiles finally saw her dreams come true.
Even before the announcement that she made the team, Chiles’ eyes swelled up with tears before her performance. Definitely a moment to remember.
Moving to Biles’ gym was clearly the right move. Chile shared that her new coaches changed her mindset and attitude and that is clearly visible in her performances. You can tell she knows she belongs. Congratulations to these amazing ladies and their teammates Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum, who make up the four-woman Olympic team. Tokyo isn’t ready to see this badass sisterhood.