Simone and her siblings came to her grandparents when she was three. Her grandparents got the call that they had been placed in foster care due to their mom’s substance abuse problems. Simone only remembers a little about being in foster care. She remembers moving to Texas and having new brothers, but since she was young she feels like it’s all she’s ever known and anything before Texas is kind of a blur.
Of course it took some transition time and her mom recalls how Simone would act like a mom to Adria and that she had to try to explain to Simone that she didn’t have to worry about that anymore and that it was her role. She said it was a struggle, but remembering how the girls needed their help made it easier. Her mom now says it’s the best thing that ever happened to them.
Simone was a very hyperactive child and was flipping all over the place and even off of the mailbox. Her brothers worked at a daycare where Simone would go and they would take field trips and they ended up going to a gym one day. Her mom says it had never occurred to her to put Simone in gymnastics, but it was the best thing to happen to her and in her opinion that was going to save her furniture.
Simone remembers watching the older girls on beam and floor and thinking she could do that and would try copying them. After a couple rec classes the coaches already wanted to put her on a team and after that she just continued moving quickly through the levels.
Heading into high school her parents told her that the way she was going to be able to do more gymnastics is with home schooling, but Simone was very resistant. She finally decided that since other girls at camp were also home schooled that it must not be that big of a deal. Initially her dad was homeschooling her and her mom says it was a disaster and that she had to find a teacher or someone was going to die and it just might be Simone.
In January 2013, Simone and her mom sat together to write down goals, which is something that they do as a family each year. Of course her long term goal was the World Championships, but she still saw it as a lofty goal and didn’t really think it would happen. She thought maybe she could get an alternate spot or even just making camp would great.
Aimee was very excited and even cried when Simone won Nationals, but Simone was pretty nonchalant about it and said it felt unreal. Heading into selection camp she was still hoping for maybe an alternate spot, but regardless felt it’d be good experience and nothing lost, that it’d all be for the better. Even her mom still wasn’t very confident of her making the team, and was of course very happy that she did end up getting the opportunity to go to Worlds.
Simone was very nervous going into Worlds and would even shake at practice. Marta told her that she had everything to gain and nothing to lose and to just go out and do what she can do and to not be afraid. Her mom says that Simone looked up to Kyla and that she was and still is her mentor. Simone says having Kyla with her in the all-around final was really helpful in keeping her calm.
After her floor in AA finals she was just happy about her set, but didn’t think she would make the podium since it was her first Worlds and she wasn’t expecting too much from herself. She could hardly believe it when she won and they moved to the awards ceremony so fast that she didn’t have time for it to sink in when she was on the podium. She said it was amazing to go 1-2 with Kyla and to have her next to her on the podium.
After 2013 Simone was shocked by everything she accomplished and said “okay well if everyone believes in me all I need to do is believe in myself and then the outcomes will happen”.