As U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles basks in the glow of her four gold medals and one bronze earned at this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she has already inspired thousands of gymnastics fans to get out on the mat and chase Olympic dreams of their own. And what about Adria, Simone Biles's younger sister? Adria traveled across hemispheres from Houston, Texas, to Rio with their mom and dad, Nellie and Ronald to cheer on Simone as she added medal after medal to her stack of gold medals. Adria is too a gymnast, just like her big sis; could Adria Biles go to the Olympics?
Adria is not a member of the U.S. women's gymnastics team, so there's no way she could have joined her sister in Rio. Like any Olympic sport, athletes must work their way from the ground up by winning or taking top honors in competition after competition. From state competitions to regionals, gymnasts must train, compete, qualify — lather, rinse, repeat — until they hopefully make it to national championships. Just because her older sister is a gold medaled gymnast, it's no different for Adria — and she has to earn her spot on Team USA.
It's important to have an understanding of how to become an Olympic gymnast on the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. While the specific qualifying requirements vary from year to year, the two most basic requirements for gymnasts to be on Team USA are that they must compete at the elite level and also be a citizen of the United States. But no matter how talented a gymnast might be, they all have to start somewhere — and there's a long way to go at the junior elite level before they can make it to elite level. Junior elites must reach the highest level (10) before they can even be considered for elite competition.
Training since age 5, Simone began competing at the junior elite level of gymnastics in 2011, when she was 14 years old. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Adria Biles got a much later start than her older sister, with her first competition at age 9. According to online magazine The Undefeated, Adria competes at the junior elite level; she has not yet reached the elite levels yet — but she's close. Her most recent competition was at level 9, according to Adria's profile at MyMeetScore.com, a gymnastics score tracking website. Simone cheered on Adria via Instagram as her little sister competed at the 2016 Level 9 Western Gym Championships this past April:
goodluck to my sister today competing at level 9 regionals! Sorry I can't be there, but I'll be cheering from here💗😚 love you sister
Despite the fact that both Simone and Adria are gymnasts, they don't let their competition get in the way of sisterhood — the pair are exceptionally close and will cheer each other on. Hopefully Simone will get to sit in the Olympic arena stands and cheer on her sister Adria as she goes for the gold some day on her own.