With Help from Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles Found Her Happy Place

In gymnastics, however, Chick Chiles was good at everything. By the time she was 11, she was designated as elite, at the top level of the...


In gymnastics, however, Chick Chiles was good at everything. By the time she was 11, she was designated as elite, at the top level of the sport, and for years was the only elite gymnast in Washington State. At the junior level of gymnastics, she won the all-around at the U.S. Classic in 2014, a year when Biles won the senior title. They were called “Biles and Chiles,” an unstoppable future duo.

As Gina Chiles learned in 2017, the hard way, there was a high price for that success.

Early that year, Jordan had returned home from a national team training camp after being passed over for a spot in an international meet. At the airport, she sobbed when she saw her mother. And again in the car.

For about an hour, the mother and daughter sat parked in their driveway and cried together as Jordan discussed her frustrations with a sport long known for celebrating controlling coaches. There had been suggestions that Jordan shouldn’t lift a single weight or gain an ounce because she was already so muscular. And that her hair, thick and textured, was “too poufy” and made it look as if she had two heads when she twisted.

Gina Chiles stayed up until 2 a.m. that night. She recalled the time a coach had cut Jordan’s braids to make her neck appear longer, a look that Martha Karolyi, then the national team coordinator, was believed to prefer. And Jordan was told she had a bad attitude, when she was just a teenager using her newfound voice.

“I didn’t understand that it had gotten that bad for her,” Gina Chiles said. “So I apologized like crazy. I told her: ‘I’m so sorry. I missed it. I messed up. It’s my job to protect you, and I made a big mistake.’”

Jordan Chiles said, “I don’t think I’ve heard the word ‘sorry’ come out of my mother’s mouth so many times.”

By the end of 2018, Biles had stepped in to offer a suggestion: Why didn’t Chiles just move to Texas to train with Biles at her gym, World Champions Centre, with the coaches Cecile and Laurent Landi? They were tough, meticulous and knowledgeable, yet were adamant that gymnasts lead balanced lives so they could better deal with the sport’s pressure, Biles said to Chiles. But the move had to be what Chiles really wanted, not something done out of obligation. That was the one stipulation.

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Newsrust - US Top News: With Help from Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles Found Her Happy Place
With Help from Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles Found Her Happy Place
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