SeeHer Story airs every week on PEOPLE.com and @PeopleTV social handles.

By Georgia Slater
July 23, 2020
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Simone Biles has continued to defy barriers — and physics — in the world of gymnastics.

At only 23 years old, Biles has become the most decorated gymnast in history and even has a list of moves so difficult that only she has ever performed them.

But her road to success wasn't always easy, and her determination to never back down is why SeeHer Story chose to honor the athlete in this week's episode.

Katie Couric Media and PEOPLE partnered to create the second season of SeeHer Story, a weekly digital video series created to celebrate various female trailblazers from the past 100 years to today.

Born in 1997 in Columbus, Ohio, Biles recalled having a rocky early childhood.

"My biological mom was suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and she was in and out of jail. I do remember always being hungry and afraid," she said in a past clip.

After spending time in foster care, she and her sister, Adria, moved to Texas to live with their grandparents. The adults quickly became role models for the young girls and formally adopted Simone and Adria in 2003.

To this day, Simone credits her grandparents for her upbringing and for putting her on the right path.

"My parents saved me. They’ve set huge examples of how to treat other people, and they’ve been there to support me since day one," she shared in a past interview.

While on a daycare field trip, Simone was introduced to gymnastics and quickly fell in love with the sport.

“I remember peeking back, and I would see these girls on the tramps and on the beams and all that, tumbling and flipping, and I was like, ‘I think I can do that,' " she recalled.

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It wasn't long after that when Simone began to dominate the sport. At 10 years old she was winning tournaments, and by 15 she had already made the United States National Team.

One year later, the athlete won her first national championship — and she has been raking in titles ever since.

With 25 world medals, six national championships and two signature moves, Simone holds the title for the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history.

In 2016, Simone showcased her skills at the Summer Olympics, where she won four gold medals and along with her teammates — known as the Final Five — took home a medal in every event including the team gold.

That fall, it was revealed that former U.S.A. team doctor Larry Nassar had been abusing gymnasts, including Simone, for decades.

“They couldn’t do one damn job. You had one job. You literally had one job, and you couldn’t protect us," she said of the USA Gymnastics organization in an earlier clip.

The athlete has been open about Nassar's lasting impact on her, sharing that she takes anxiety medication and is "very grateful" to have the resources to help her move forward.

Simone originally planned to retire from the sport after the 2020 Olympics, which have since been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In true Simone fashion, the athlete isn't stepping down just yet: instead, she is preparing for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and staying active with at-home workouts.

After hearing that the Olympics were pushed back, Simone made it clear that she would still compete next year.

"I didn’t come this far to just give up," she said.

SeeHer Story will be a regular feature in PEOPLE’s print edition, the weekday morning newsletter Wake-Up Call with Katie Couric and on PeopleTV’s entertainment show, PEOPLE Now

"SeeHer Story celebrates the important contributions of bold women from the past 100 years who have changed our country forever,” said Couric in a statement. “We hope recognizing them and telling their stories will not only give them their due but will also inspire the next generation of leaders.”

She added, “Together with Meredith and PEOPLE, I’m so excited to bring back a second season of stories of women whose names you may know — and put those whose achievements are not as well-known — front and center so we can celebrate them as well.”

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