Simone Biles, Sasha Farber
Getty Images

Simone Biles brought to tears on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Leave a comment

The most memorable year of Simone Biles‘ life was not 2016. It was 2000, when she was placed in foster care.

Biles broke into tears when recalling her difficult childhood in a “Dancing with the Stars” video interview for Monday night’s episode.

“My biological mom was suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and she was in and out of jail,” Biles said. “I never had mom to run to. … I do remember always being hungry and afraid.”

From Biles’ book, “Courage to Soar:”

“Most people might think that at age three I was too young to know what it meant to be placed into foster care, but the truth is I understood everything. When the social worker piled the four of us into her car, I knew exactly what was going on. We were going to live with a new family, and we didn’t know if we’d like it there. I think we were all a little scared, because none of us said a word during the car ride. Yet as clearly as I remember the heavy silence in the backseat of that car, with Ashley holding four-month-old Adria on her lap, the rest of my foster care memories are fuzzy images.”

Biles and three siblings first went to live with her grandfather, Ron, and his wife, Nellie, in March 2000. The two older siblings wanted to return to their mother, and with social workers saying Ron and Nellie had to keep all four children or none at all, the four children all went back to foster care.

Ron and Nellie were finally able to adopt Biles and younger sister Adria when Biles was 6.

“My parents saved me,” Biles said.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Aly Raisman expects to keep Mihai Brestyan as coach

Mark Spitz takes on Katie Ledecky’s challenge

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Swimmers around the world took on Katie Ledecky‘s milk-glass challenge since it became a social media sensation, including one of the few Americans with more Olympic gold medals.

Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Munich Games, took 10 strokes in an at-home pool while perfectly balancing a glass of what appeared to be water on his head.

“Would’ve been faster with the ‘stache, @markspitzusa, but I still give this 7 out of 7 gold medals,” Ledecky tweeted.

Spitz joined fellow Olympic champions Susie O’Neill of Australia and American Matt Grevers in posting similar videos to what Ledecky first shared Monday.

In Tokyo next year, Ledecky can pass Spitz’s career gold-medal count of nine if she wins all of her expected events — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles and the 4x200m free relay.

Then she would trail one athlete from any country in any sport — Michael Phelps, the 23-time gold medalist who has yet to post video of swimming while balancing a glass on his head.

MORE: Spitz puts Michael Phelps’ career in perspective

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!