Simone Biles, the Olympic gold medalist, in a recent interview with Us Magazine, unpacked her Olympic bag, explaining the significance of each item. Along with her bottled water, bobby pins, Beats headphones and cheetah-print umbrella, Biles carries a white rosary.
“My mom, Nellie, got me a rosary at church,” she told the magazine. “I don’t use it to pray before a competition. I’ll just pray normally to myself, but it’s there just in case.”
Biles was adopted by her grandparents, Ron and Nellie Biles, when she was five years old. Her mother, a drug addict, had struggled to care for Simone and her siblings.
After the adoption, Simone has called Nellie and Ron “mom and dad.” She attends Sunday Mass with her parents, and regularly lights a candle to St. Sebastian, the patron saint of athletes, before big events, according to olympic.org.