Simone Biles, the most decorated American gymnast in history, opened up about the difficulty of training for the Olympics during the coronavirus pandemic and overcoming abuse in her new Vogue interview. The 23-year-old also revealed she and her boyfriend, Stacey Ervin Jr., have called it quits. The two were together for three years but split in March before Biles went to New York.
"It's hard being young and having that long of a relationship and then ending it. But it was for the best," Biles told Vogue. She declined to go into further detail, but PEOPLE notes Ervin, 26, did not wish Biles a happy birthday when she turned 23 in March. Biles also did not mention him in her birthday post. The two were still together during Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, though.
Biles and Ervin split before she went to New York in early March. It was supposed to be the first stop in a promotional tour for the Japanese skin-care brand SK-II, along with other Olympians. SK-II is among the sponsors for the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which have already been postponed until July 2021. Although Biles will be 24 by the time the Olympics begin, she is still hoping to make the team. She was finally able to resume training in mid-May when the World Champions Centre reopened. In April, she was unsure about going to the Olympics, but now, "I'm starting to train toward it," she said.
Although she knew to delay the Olympics was the "right decision," Biles cried after the Olympics were delayed because she would have to work with USA Gymnastics for another year. She was critical of how the organization handled Larry Nassar, the former doctor who is now in prison for child pornography and sexual misconduct. Biles was abused by Nassar herself and came forward in January 2018.
"For me, it was a weight that I carried so heavily on my chest, so I felt like, if I shared it with people, then it would be a relief for me," Biles told Vogue. "And I knew that by sharing my story, I would help other survivors feel comfortable and safe in coming forward." While USAG offered Nassar's victims part of a $215 million settlement, Biles said there still needs to be an investigation into what happened and who was part of the cover-up. "We can't feel comfortable promoting our sport if we fear that something might happen like this again because they're not doing their part," she said.
Biles also touched on the ongoing protests against police brutality and racial inequality following George Floyd's death in Minneapolis on May 25. "We need justice for the Black community. With the peaceful protests, it's the start of change, but it's sad that it took all of this for people to listen," she explained. "Racism and injustice have existed for years with the Black community. How many times has this happened before we had cell phones?"