Simone Biles Talks Falling in Love During Pandemic, Returning to Competition in New ‘Vanity Fair’ Cover Story

The most decorated gymnast in history married NFL player Jonathan Owens last spring.
Simone Biles

Simone Biles.

Simone Biles is perhaps entering the second peak of her career—and she’s just getting started. The American gymnast, who is often referred to as the G.O.A.T., withdrew in the middle of events at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 due to a case of the “twisties.” While fans and supporters around the world commended her for putting her safety and mental health first, critics deemed her weak and cowardly.

Since then, Biles, who is on the cover of Vanity Fair’s latest issue, has fallen in love, gotten married, built her dream home in Texas, returned to the competitive gymnastics scene and won multiple competitions already. Today, the most decorated gymnast in history, who holds 37 Olympic and World Championship medals, is gearing up for the Paris Olympics later this year. 

The 26-year-old met her husband, Jonathan Owens, on dating app Raya in 2020, and sent him the first message just a couple of weeks after getting on the invite-only platform. The two were “hooked” after that, she said, and the 28-year-old Green Bay Packers safety added, “I noticed her laugh. It was just contagious.”

The pair, who got married last spring, fell so hard so fast during quarantine because of their intimate dates. While the rest of the world was avoiding meeting new people, Owens and Biles were letting each other in, watching movies, playing games and drinking wine at home.

Biles returned to competing last August at the US Gymnastics Championships in San Jose, Calif., where she placed eighth nationally. Later that month, she won gold in the individual all-around, gold in the balance beam and floor, and silver in the vault at the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.

“I felt like I was back in my element and it was exciting, but I was truly petrified. I had the training to back it up because we worked really hard, [but] I wasn’t as confident or as comfortable as I wanted to be,” she candidly shared about her victorious but nerve-racking return.” It was kind of surprising. Just taking [the] risk of allowing myself to be vulnerable in front of a crowd competing again was a win for me.”

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Ananya Panchal


Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.