In an open-hearted but devious effort we have employed the regular media, mind readers, the National Security Agency, pharmacologists, and other intrusive individuals and entities to engage Simone Biles and determine what she’s really thinking. That’s none of our business, you might say. And to that I respond: why, then, are you reading this? I’ll answer that rhetorical question. You also want to gain a few personal insights about perhaps the greatest gymnast in history who, we’re learning, is a charming pixie blessed with a luminous smile. In the interest of restraint and good taste, we’ve omitted a few findings.
Questioners – Congratulations on winning four gold medals and a bronze.
Simone Biles – I’ve only got three golds and a bronze right now.
Q – Yes, but we think you’ll take the floor exercise tomorrow.
SB – You probably thought I’d win the balance beam today, too, but I slipped.
Q – It’s a treacherous event.
SB – Definitely.
Q – Simone, this morning we read you’re interested in competing in “Dancing with Stars” even though you say you “can’t dance.” We don’t believe you can’t dance.
Simone Biles – I can’t dance as well as a lot of the other girls in gymnastics.
Q – But you’re dominating the competition.
SB – That’s because of my speed, strength, and jumping ability, as well as my balance and short frame – I’m only four-foot-eight – enable me to do very complicated vaults and flips and land on my feet. I really would like to dance like the girls I see on TV.
Q – And in nightclubs?
SB – I don’t go to nightclubs. I’m too young and have been too busy, anyway.
Q – Do you plan to go to the clubs after the Olympics?
SB – Definitely.
Q – You’ll need a security detail.
SB – No, I’m the same person I’ve always been.
Q – You may not have changed fundamentally, but millions of fans in the United States, and around the world, are becoming very interested in you. Some are obsessed.
SB – Well, I wouldn’t go to clubs by myself. I’d go with friends. Even if I needed security, it would only be for a little while. Things would cool off. Nadia Comaneci was really hot after the 1976 Olympics, and after 1980, as well, but she’s been leading a normal life. Same for Mary Lou Retton and Nastia Liukin. I’ll be fine.
Q – What about boyfriends?
SB – There’ll be one soon, I’m pretty sure.
Q – For almost fifty years, following the 1968 Olympics when Vera Caslavska, a mature, hundred-twenty-one pounder from Czechoslovakia, won her second gold medal in the all-around competition, there’s been an emphasis on younger and lighter girls. There have even been some instances of bulimia and anorexia nervosa. One young lady, Christy Henrich, whose weight had shriveled to forty-nine pounds, died at age twenty-two in 1994.
SB – That was tragic but it’s not how things usually are. I’m short, as I mentioned, but I weigh a hundred four pounds, which is quite a bit for my height, and I always make sure to get enough to eat and maintain my strength. All the other girls, like me, climb the rope every day, using only their arms and holding both legs straight out.
Q – Okay, let’s assume there isn’t undue pressure for the girls, or young ladies, to maintain reasonable weights. That leads to our next question. Do you think you could maintain this level of excellence four more years until the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo?
SB – I’m not guaranteeing I could but I think so. The question I haven’t really answered yet is: do I want to? Do I want thirty-two hours a week in the gym and rarely any pizza or dessert?
Q – What are you plans after the Olympics? You’ll have unlimited endorsement opportunities.
SB – We’ll certainly take advantage of those as well as our tour with other gymnasts. That’ll be for fun and entertainment, not competition.
Q – I saw online that tickets are scaled from twenty-five to two hundred fifty bucks. Some seats will undoubtedly be more expensive than that, about like prime seats at NBA games.
SB – It’s quite a bit, but I think people are interested.
Q – They are, indeed. I’ve read, and frankly pray it’s not true, that you’re a big fan of the Kardashians and want to have your own reality show.
SB – Yeah, I think that would be cool. My parents don’t want to but they wouldn’t have to be on camera. My friends and my four German Shepherds and I would be the stars.
Q – Please let us suggest that you set the bar a bit higher and host a talk show. You could start with the world of gymnastics and sports in general. Imagine how stimulating it would be to interview people like Nadia Comaneci and Nastia Liukin and Bela and Martha Karolyi. Then you could interview LeBron James and Steph Curry and Tom Brady. I’ll bet President Obama would love to appear on your show. And Oprah. Way better than reality TV. What do you think?