Simone Biles, champion Olympic gymnast, will publish a memoir

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles will publish a memoir.
(Alex Livesey / Getty Images)

Simone Biles may be only 19, but she’s got plenty of stories to tell: winning the gold medal on the vault, winning the gold medal on the floor exercise … five gymnastics medals in all at the Olympics in Rio.

Biles will tell her life story in a new autobiography, “Courage to Soar,” co-written with journalist Michelle Burford.

Christian publisher Zondervan will release the book Nov. 15.

“I want people to reach for their dreams. If you’re willing to put in a lot of work, and if you’re focused and determined, you can go really far. There [are] so many people who have inspired me with their love and encouragement along the way — and I want to pass on that inspiration to readers,” Biles said in the publisher’s release. “I feel honored to work with Zondervan. They publish so many great stories that inspire readers to live their lives with purpose.”


Biles was one of the breakout stars of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last month, where she earned five medals — four gold and one bronze — becoming the first female American gymnast to do so since Nastia Liukin in 2008. She was chosen by American Olympians to be the nation’s flag bearer at the Games’ closing ceremony.

The U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team, nicknamed “the Final Five,” consisted of Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman. The squad won back-to-back team gold medals in Rio. Biles, thrilled, told reporters, “I haven’t found the word for this yet. I need a dictionary.”

Zondervan says that Biles’ autobiography will address “challenges in her childhood” and “the ups and downs of her life.”

Biles was raised in Texas by her grandfather and his wife; her biological parents both struggled with substance-use disorders and couldn’t take care of Biles or her siblings.

Zondervan Vice President Annette Bourland indicated that Biles’ book would be inspirational. “Simone’s life and story will equip countless fans with the courage and motivation to move beyond ‘life as it seems,’ ” Bourland said.

Biles’ co-author, Burford, previously collaborated with another member of the Final Five. She helped Douglas with her 2012 memoir, “Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith,” also published by Zondervan.


“Courage to Soar” will feature a foreword by gymnastic legend Mary Lou Retton.


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