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#519889 - 12/18/16 06:08 AM Welcome Motorcade for Simone Biles, Olympic Gymnast
Marty Offline

A motorcade will be held through the streets of Belize City for Olympic gold medal gymnast Simone Biles next Thursday. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) made the announcement today via its Facebook page, inviting the general public to come out.

Biles made international headlines this past summer at the 2016 Olympics held in Rie de Janerio, Brazil; winning four gold medals. Biles also dominated headlines for claiming strong ties to Belize. She recalled her experiences in the country in several interviews and the relationship with her grandmother, who is of Belizean origin, was the subject of several articles.

The BTB had extended an invitation to Biles and her teammates following their historic performance in Rio. And while many are excited to see the young Olympian claiming Belizean roots, social media is already abuzz with criticism.

The motorcade will leave Biltmore Plaza, make its way down Cemetery Road, Orange Street, Albert Street and Battlefield Park. It begins at 4:00 p.m.



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#519983 - 12/20/16 05:13 AM Re: Welcome Motorcade for Simone Biles, Olympic Gymnast [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Simone Biles is coming to Belize!

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles is coming to Belize. A Belizean-American of Garifuna descent through her mother Nellie Cayetano, the nineteen year old, four-foot-eight gymnastic wonder was said to have accepted an invitation from the Belize Tourism Board to visit Belize. She officially touches down this week, and like Marion Jones in 2000, will receive a heroine’s welcome. The Belize Tourism Board reported today that she will host a press conference at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza at three in the afternoon on Thursday, December twenty-second, to be followed by a motorcade along the main streets of Belize City starting at four from the Biltmore and ending at the Battlefield Park with a brief welcome ceremony. Other Belizean athletes will also be in attendance. We will have more on this in tomorrow’s newscast, after representatives of the B.T.B. visit Open Your Eyes in the morning.

Channel 5



Belize Tourism Board - Simon Biles Visit to Belize


Simone Biles, celebrated Olympic gymnast, arrives in Belize this Thursday

Simone Biles, 19, the US gymnast with Belizean citizenship who famously snagged 4 gold medals at the recent Rio Olympics, is due to arrive in Belize this Thursday, December 22, when she will be welcomed with a grand motorcade through the main streets of Belize City.

Biles, who has received the 2016 BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year Award for breaking new ground, is “the first American and fifth female to win four gymnastics gold medals at a single Games,” according to the BBC.

Biles is connected with Belize, which is one of her favorite destinations to relax, because Nellie Biles, the daughter of the late Silas Cayetano, a Garifuna man of Belize, adopted Simone and her sister in 2001. Simone is the biological granddaughter of Nellie’s husband, Ron, an American. Her biological mother is Shanon Biles.

Karen Bevans, director of the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), told Amandala that a press conference will be held at 3:00 p.m. at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza on the Philip Goldson Highway when Biles arrives on Thursday, December 22. Afterwards, she will be featured in a motorcade starting at 4:00 p.m. from the hotel to Cemetery Road via Central American Boulevard, and from there the motorcade will proceed into Orange Street, Albert Street, Regent Street and then to the Battlefield Park, for a welcome ceremony. See route HERE.

On August 11, the BTB made a public offer via Twitter to Biles and the US gymnastics team, known as the Final Five. The tweet said: “Congrats @simone_biles! Belize is so proud of you. We’d love to host you and the entire #FinalFive on a vacation once you’re ready to relax.”

Biles replied: “my second home, you betta belize we’re coming…”

Bevans said that whereas the Final 5 could not coordinate their schedules to make this a reality for the entire team, Biles is able to make it and she will be arriving at the airport with her family on Thursday.

On Thursday night, Biles will be hosted at a dinner by Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

Biles is expected to stay for a week, during which she will get a chance to see more of the country.

Before her departure on December 29, she will host a motivational session for selected young sports enthusiasts in Belize. Schools across the country were invited to submit names.

“We are extremely pleased that this has materialized,” Bevans told us.

“We have done many of these tweets as a marketing strategy, and this is one of the first to become a reality. We intend to continue with this trend to bring positive publicity for Belize as a destination,” she added.

The international press, including US Today, had picked up the story of Belize “striking gold” with the offer to Biles, who has over ten times as many followers on Twitter than the BTB.

Although Biles is not being accompanied this time by her other teammates—Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian—Bevans told our newspaper that they are still welcome to take up the BTB’s offer.

Amandala


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#520394 - 12/23/16 05:40 AM Re: Welcome Motorcade for Simone Biles, Olympic Gymnast [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Motorcade to welcome Simone Biles to Belize

Motorcade through Belize City on Thursday, December 22, 2016.



Simone Biles is Here and Warmly Welcomed
Hundreds of Belizeans gathered today to get a glimpse and take pictures of the world’s best female gymnast Simone Biles. The famed athlete who won five medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, including the gold medal for best all-around gymnast, is in Belize for about a week during the holidays to catch up on a much needed break, following a whirlwind of tours, media appearances and official visits. She is here courtesy of the BTB – in a publicity move the BTB issued Biles an invitation following her outstanding performance at the Olympics over the summer. Biles responded that she will take up the offer. She holds a Belize passport and has been a dual citizen for about two years now. News Five was at today’s welcoming press conference and our intern Maria Reneau has the highlights:

Maria Reneau, Reporting

It was full pump and circumstance for Simone Biles. She was met and greeted by government officials at the Philip Goldson Airport and escorted down to the Biltmore Hotel for a press conference. The usually chipper five-time Olympic medalist shared what she loves about Belize and the things she is looking forward to- those include fishing and some rice and beans.

Simone Biles, Olympic Gold Medalist

“I do go fishing. Belize is the only place where I fish. I don’t really fish back at home because I think it is special to come here and fish. It is something we’ve always done ever since I was a little girl whenever we used to come here.”

Reporter

“Favourite foods?”

Simone Biles

“Uhmm…oh yeah, that is my favourite. Rice and Beans. It’s my favourite and my mom makes it back home too so.  I think it’s time for a vacation so that is why we came down here with the family to spend time with it. Uhm…and then maintain my body shape and everything, we went on tour right after the Olympics and it was for like two months and we were still working out on the tour and doing shows, but since then I’ve kind of had a break on my body and I’m gonna take some time off of gymnastics before I start back into it.”

Reporter

“Now if you look at your time here will you get out to indulge as you wish?”

Simone Biles

“Yes, yes.”

Reporter

“You’re not travelling with a fitness coach?”

Simone Biles

“I’m by myself, so that’s good.”

Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia says that Biles’ connection with and love for Belize prompted them to offer her a free vacation – one that she readily accepted.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“Despite her soaring aspirations and glorious achievement, Simone still took out the time to remind not only her family and friends, but indeed the world of her Belizean connection blessed Belize even higher on the world stage. As a result we at the Ministry of Tourism and Belize Tourism Board saw it only fit to extend an invitation to Simone and the Final Five after the Rio Olympics concluded, not only celebrate their historic accomplishment this pass year but also for them to truly experience the Belizean lifestyle and even better now the Belizean Christmas. Imagine our excitement when Simone replied accepting our invitation with a response of: “My second home, you better Belize we are coming.”

And once she arrived she wasn’t short on words of wisdom foryoung Belizeans. As the author of a new book about her life, she says it’s important for each person to tell his or her own story, and that the road to success comes with its challenges.

Simone Biles

“I would say to never give up. And I know that there will be hard days, some harder than others, but you can always push through it and it’s amazing how mind over matter is. It is pretty crazy how strong your mind can be when you put yourself and say you wanna do something and then you can achieve it.”

Andrea Polanco

“You recently released Courage to Soar, talk to us a little bit about that and why was it important to you to tell your story in your book.”

Simone Biles

“I think it was important to inspire other kids that they read my story, they can do anything just like I said that as a kid; but other than that, I thought it was different how everyone told my story for me so I thought it was a very good idea for me to tell it myself and for them to read and to just hear it from me because I think that’s the most important rather than everyone telling it for me.”

Andrea Polanco

“If a Belizean child should read your book, what do you plan for her to take away from that?”

Simone Biles

“That even professional or elite athletes, we all go through something in our life even though it doesn’t seem like it because we are successful but we still have bumps in the road too as well.”

A member of Biles’ welcoming party was Deputy PM and Minister of Education and Sports Patrick Faber. He says that Biles should be an inspiration for the entire country, despite that some quarters are not receptive of the nation’s response to Biles.

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education and Sports

“There are times for instance when Belizeans at home frown on Belizeans who are living abroad as having left Belize an in fact they contribute very little, when we know this isn’t the case all the time. A lot of us depend on remittances from abroad. I say this to point out that the contributions of our Belizeans living abroad is as important to Belize’s development as is the contribution that each of us who live in Belize make on a daily basis and that should never be discounted. I will tell you even though she doesn’t reside here, she’s Belizean and more Belizean than some of us who live in the Belize which is the case, you know that. So let’s give her family, and her, a round of applause.  You are a star for everybody else but for us here you are an extremely bright, shining star, an inspiration to many of our young people. And I want to tell you there are some people who will have a few negative things to say, let us deal with that. I have been watching on Facebook: Oh the people who are local here, and this that, we don’t do this that. Listen as I’ve said we are Belizean, no matter where we are.”

And Biles knows this all too well. She says that while the opportunities and successes are blessings,sometimes it can get overwhelming. A day ago she tweeted that she has been feeling emotional lately – it’s due to all the attention.

Simone Biles

“I guess it is just hard being in the limelight a lot and everyone is judging everything I do so sometimes I wish it wasn’t like that, because to me it’s just like I just went to the Olympics like it was my goal but I didn’t think it should be blown up as much as it did, so I kind of just wish it was a little on the down low but it’s fine. (laughs)”

Following a welcome reception at the Biltmore, a motorcade of local athletes, the BTB and other groups left off via the Philip Goldson Highway and made its way on to the Central American Boulevard, down Cemetery Road and into downtown Belize City and culminated at the Battlefield Park with a short program. Maria Reneau for News Five.

Channel 5


Simone Biles In Belize, And Why Her Family Calls It Home

She won a record five medals at the Rio Olympics, and tonight Simone Biles is in Belize, the place her family calls home. Biles arrived at the PGIA this afternoon with her family from Houston Texas where they live. They held a press conference at the Biltmore where she was welcomed home, and told the media what she's looking forward to in a well deserved vacation:

Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
"Simone and her family, welcome home."

Simone Biles
"I think it's time for a vacation so that's why we came down here with the family to spend time with it. We came a dual citizen because my mom is from here, the whole family we're all dual citizens so I thought it's pretty cool but I still compete for the U.S but whenever I come here I get to use the passport."

Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
"We are Belizeans no matter where we are and I think that Simone and her family are the best example to show us that we can put Belize on the map no matter where we reside. So I asked the gathering this afternoon to give her family and she will receive many applauses I'm sure for the time she's here so let's give her family that applause because they have done a great task in making sure that she's brought up with that Belizean nationalism in her. I'll tell you even though she doesn't reside here she's Belizean and more Belizean than some of us who live in Belize."

Courtney Weatherburne, 7News
"What is the number one thing you're interested in doing while you're here in Belize?"

Simone Biles
"Just spend time with family, I didn't get to do a lot of it this entire year because I've been busy and travelling all over so that's the main thing. I do go fishing, Belize is the only place I fish. I don't really fish back at home because I think it's special to come here and fish and it's something we've always done since I was a little girl whenever we used to come here."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"Favorite foods?"

Simone Biles
"Oh yeah that is my favorite, rice and beans, my mom makes back home too."

Kim Simplis Barrow - Special Envoy for Women and Children
"I really don't think Simone has a clue of what she did over the summer not only to me but to many young ladies in this country. You have inspired us in ways that is so amazing. We look at you and we can relate, we see ourselves in you."

Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
"And there is a sense of hopelessness in many respects of and for our young people here in this country. When they see an example, a bright shining star like Simone Biles, shine for the world to see, that light shines brightest for our young people right here in Belize."

Nellie Cayetano Biles Explains Why Belize is Home For Her Family

Now, if you’re wondering what Simone’s connection to Belize is, it’s simple. Her step-Grandmother – who is also her adoptive mother is Nellie Cayetano Biles. She’s the daughter of former Senator and well-known Neal Pen Road businessman Silas Cayetano. She’s been bringing all her children – including Simone to Belize for years.

Nellie Biles Explain Belizean Lineage

Thursday night, Simone Biles and her family will be hosted by the Prime Minister at a dinner. It will surely be an event that her grandmother Nellie Biles Cayetano will enjoy. As you heard earlier she's the daughter of a former UDP stalwart and trustee, the now deceased Silas Cayetano. He died 5 years ago after spending extended time with her family in Houston. That's where he got to know Simone Biles and her sisters. But, Simone is not a blood relation to Silas Cayetano or Nellie Cayetano Biles. Nellie explained how she came to be Simone's Mother and grandmother:...

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"Please explain your family relation with Simone because you are her step grandmother really."

Nellie Cayetano - Simone's Grandmother
"That is correct I am married what was Simone's, my husband had a previous wife and Simone's biological mother is his daughter. So she had a total of 4 children when she was having difficulty with substance abuse at that time and we talked about, because the 4 children were then placed in a foster home and that information was shared with us. So we collectively thought that the best thing to do and I mean the only thing to do really is to help out. So we brought 4 of the children with us."

Simone's biological mother is not an active presence in her life, though they still keep in touch. The person she calls mom is Nellie Cayetano Biles:

Nellie Cayetano - Simone's Grandmother
"Everyone said it was going to change and I did not know what change really meant but it really has changed in that we are now more cautious whenever we make travel plans or even plan whenever we go to the restaurants because it is recognized that it is more than before. I would never say anything negative about the change because it's quite a blessing I mean who gets to have this type of opportunity. so we are trying really hard to embrace it and I also remind her that she needs to look at it not as oh my gosh I have to do this again and so I try to make sure that I instill the fact that this is something that was a blessing for her even though she worked hard for it and that she needs to be gracious whenever someone even once say take a photo or ask her a couple words and at this point Simone is doing that."

The Simone Biles motivational session is not tomorrow at the Bliss - it's on December the 29th. So that's next week Friday, not tomorrow. We apologize for the error.

Welcome Motorcade For Simone

At just four feet 7 inches and 100 pounds, you might have missed her in the motorcade, but as one of the world's most elite, accomplished and finely tuned athletes, Simone Biles doesn't need to command any extra attention. In fact, she came to Belize trying to get away from all that.

Still, she had to do some of that kind of ceremonial glad-handing today at Battlefield where she was the center of attention, receiving praise and congratulations for her achievements at the 2016 Olympics. Biles also got several gifts from government officials and athletes, and even received the key to Belize City from Mayor Darrell Bradley. We spoke to the Director of the BTB Karen Bevans about what her vacation plans are for the next few weeks...

Karen Bevans, Director, BTB
"We just did a welcome ceremony and a basic overall welcome for her so she can feel at home in Belize. We tweeted to her, she responded. She took the time to make plans and get her family together and everyone to come to Belize. So we thought showing her how proud we are of her, recognizing the fact that she did this for Belize and again putting the name Belize out there because this is being seen internationally as well. So for more than one reasons, we thought that this was a fabulous idea. From the turnout and participation here today, I'm sure that you would agree with me as well."

Alex Courtenay, 7News
"Other than the crowd there's also huge participation from different governmental officials as well. She got the key to the city which is something that not many people get. Was this a collaboration effort with all of these other entities as well as the BTB?"

Karen Bevans, Director, BTB
"Definitely collaboration. All the different agencies, the city of Belize, the city of Belmopan, the sporting associations, not to forget our athletes, they were all intimately involved. The ministry of tourism, sports, NICH, I must give a big thank you especially to our stakeholders as well because to make her entire trip beneficial and to give her the experience we want her to receive in Belize, the tourism stakeholders are really a big part of this. I want to thank them, I thank all the different associations that showed up today and I thank all the different agencies that gave a hand to make this a reality. As I mentioned on the stage earlier that we tweeted to her 4 months ago and her reply was positive, she did say 'you better Belize I'll be there', today is a reality 4 months later. To put all the logistics together and get this happening for us, we're excited about it. Belize is out there, it is now even more on the map with her and the number of followers she has makes it meaningful to us and successful."

Biles attends a dinner tonight at 8:00 where she will be joined by the Prime Minister. Tomorrow, the vacation starts where she and her family will be spending the Christmas holidays in Belize at an undisclosed location.

Channel 7



Simone Biles: Olympic Gold Medallist In Belize

Olympic Gold Medallist Simone Biles has arrived in Belize. However, her visit is welcomed by few Belizeans. While some are excited to see the young Olympian claiming Belizean roots, social media has been wrought criticism over Belize Tourism Board's means of promoting the country.


Simone Biles Calls Belize Her Second Home
I don’t know how we ended up inside the Simone Biles motorcade in Belize City yesterday, but somehow during all the chaos we did. When asking to get ahead of it for media shots, a traffic officer directed us behind the police truck in the lead. LOL!! So there we were in the center of it all, in our little orange iTravel-mobile. All we could think of is wave back at the crowd. We were so excited to have met Simone. She is sweet, friendly and always carrying a big smile. Biles has been an inspiration to the Belize youth. She will be addressing students across the country during a motivational speech session at the Bliss Institute of Performing Arts on Thursday, December 29. Simone and her family were welcomed by hundreds in the city. A large crowd waited for her arrival at Battlefield Park in downtown Belize City where the motorcade ended. She was received with loud applause and was presented with gifts and the key to the city by Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley. Later that evening she was hosted by Prime Minister Dean Barrow and family at a private dinner.


Simone Biles Visits Belize on Christmas Vacation

Simone and her family were welcomed by hundreds in Belize City. A large crowd waited for her arrival at Battlefield Park in downtown Belize City where the motor cade ended. She was received with loud applause and was presented with gifts and the key to the city by Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley. She will spend her 2016 Christmas vacations in Belize.


Simone Biles Speaks About Education and Social Media Impact

On Thursday, Simone Biles landed in Belize to much fan-fare courtesy the B.T.B. and other local partners. By now you would know that the world’s best gymnast is the adopted daughter of Belizean Nellie Cayetano Biles. And while we may know a lot about her gymnastics feats, we don’t always get to see the star athlete outside of her element. At Thursday’s press conference she spoke about that part of her life that most people don’t see and one thing that she holds dear – education. Biles says she uses social media to give people a look at her life outside the world of sports:

Simone Biles, Olympian

“I just kinda use it as an outlet for other teens or kids or whoever is watching it to get an in look in my life because they always see me whenever I am competing but they don’t see like my personality whenever I am outside of the gym, so I think it is fun for them to watch that because that is me rather than just on the floor and stuff.”

Reporter

“Little has been said about your education, can you speak about that and in terms of how important that is for you apart from being the world’s best female gymnast?”

Simone Biles

“Yes. Education has always been very important to me and my family. They always say school before gymnastics, which I have. But I did graduate a year and a half ago from high school. And then I took a year off so I can focus on the Olympics and since then everything was so crazy and a whirlwind, I am waiting for everything to slow down to start school again.”

Reporter

“Did you think that coming off Rio that you actually got the rightful accolades that you should have gotten? Or do you think that that was played down a little bit?”

Simone Biles

“No. I think it was pretty good because once we got back to states, we were literally everywhere. And once we turned on the TV we were everywhere and it was kinda crazy seeing that we were everywhere and I just kinda wanted to get a break from myself. Because everywhere I looked it was my face sothat was pretty crazy.”

Channel 5


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#520468 - 12/24/16 06:24 AM Re: Welcome Motorcade for Simone Biles, Olympic Gymnast [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Simone Biles in Belize

Simone Arianne Biles, the 19-year-old world-famous superstar gymnast originally of the USA, but who has Belizean citizenship through her mother, Nellie Cayetano Biles, arrived in her second home, Belize, with fanfare, in answer to a special invitation from the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) to come relax in Belize after her stunning performance at the Rio Olympic Games in August.

For the BTB, the social media engagement with Biles, who immediately replied accepting the invitation, is a marketing strategy which has worked well in garnering attention for Belize while the world’s attention was fixed on Biles. For Simone, though, she had no difficulty accepting the offer to come to Belize—the only place she fishes, a hobby she has been engaged in, in Belize since she was a little girl, although she officially attained her citizenship two years ago.

simone-biles-and-her-family

At a welcome press conference held at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza right after her arrival in Belize today, Biles, a petite Belizean-American 4 feet 8 inches tall, stood tall in conveying her key message to Belizean youth and athletes—that wielding mind over matter leads to success.

“It is pretty crazy how strong your mind can be when you put yourself and say you wanna do something and then you can achieve it,” Biles said.

Biles has been unabashed about the fact that she had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a condition with which an increasing number of children are being diagnosed. We asked her about the challenges she has faced and how doing gymnastics has helped her to cope. She admits that ADHD has made it a bit challenging for her to concentrate in school as well as during some of her gym activities, but medication, in her case Ritalin, has helped.

“We’re just like any other kid; it’s just that we are a little bit more hyperactive, but other than that, we’re fine,” she said.

Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia said that Biles, who made history by garnering 19 Olympic and World Championship medals, has demonstrated that hard work does pay off. Biles, whom he called “a true Belizean at heart,” took the time to remind the world of her Belizean connection, placing Belize on the world stage, the minister said.

Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber, Minister responsible for Youth, Education and Sports, said that there are key lessons for Belizeans at home and abroad: he said that the contributions of Belizeans abroad are as important as the contributions made by Belizeans here, and they should never be discounted.

He described Biles as a light which shines bright for young people here in Belize, adding later that Biles is “as Belizean as you can get.” Notably, Biles’ favorite food is Belize’s national dish: rice and beans.

“It’s my favorite and my mom makes it back home too so,” said Biles.

Although there are many Belizeans who are welcoming Biles with open arms, among them are those who have expressed their dissatisfaction with the BTB, because, they contend, that the same gestures are not made to native Belizean athletes. Some of the criticism has been levied in social media posts, even as we go to press.

Minister Faber said: “I want to tell you there are some people who will have a few negative things to say. Let us deal with that. I have been watching on Facebook: ‘Oh, the people who are local here, and this that. We don’t do this that.’ Listen, as I’ve said, we are Belizean, no matter where we are… we can put Belize on the map no matter where we reside.”

Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis-Barrow, who tonight hosted Simone and her family for dinner along with Prime Minister Dean Barrow, lauded Biles for her humility, noting that her beautiful smile beamed right through the television screens “and captivated us in a way that I don’t think we will ever see again…”

Barrow told Biles, “…you have so many admirers in this country.”

But Biles said that being in the limelight has been a challenge, since “…everyone is judging everything I do.”

She never anticipated that her gestures in recognizing Belize would have yielded the results they have, but she wants to spend the time celebrating family in the place she loves. We asked her what the highlight of her trip would be and she said: “Just spend time with family. I hadn’t got to do a whole lot of it this entire year, because I’ve been busy. I’m traveling all over, so that’s the main thing.”

Welcome motorcade held Thursday evening for Simone Biles, on the way to ceremony at Battlefield Park

Amandala






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#520529 - 12/29/16 05:59 AM Re: Welcome Motorcade for Simone Biles, Olympic Gymnast [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
One More Honour For Simone

Belize’s guest of honour for the Christmas vacation Simone Biles has been named the Associated Press Female athlete of the Year. Biles received a total of 39 votes from editors and news directors out of a possible 59 to earn the honour. She beat out decorated tennis great Serena Williams.

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#520546 - 12/29/16 02:30 PM Re: Welcome Motorcade for Simone Biles, Olympic Gymnast [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline


"Follow your dreams and have fun!" Simone Biles, an American Olympic gold medalist gymnast with Belizean roots inspired and motivated Belizean youth at the Bliss Center this morning.

Click photos for more pictures!


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#520550 - 12/30/16 05:56 AM Re: Welcome Motorcade for Simone Biles, Olympic Gymnast [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Simone’s Session With Youths

Winning five medals in the gymnastics competition at the Summer Olympics. Before Simone Biles, no American woman had ever done it before. That's a singular distinction. And for her unmatched accomplishment, Biles was yesterday named the Associated Press female athlete of the year - beating out perennial favourites such as Serena Williams.

What would you like to ask someone who'd done something so singular?

Well today, Belize's young athletes got just that chance when Biles participated in a question and answer session with students, athletes and fans. Our cameras were there to capture the event...

Alex Courtenay reporting
Simone Biles spent the last week on vacation in Belize with her family. Today she took some time out of her holiday to sit down for a motivational question and answer session with her Belizean fans. They had a lot to ask, but of course, the first thing on everyone's mind was what her favorite parts of Belize are.

Voice of: Fan
"What's your favorite part about Belize?"

Simone Biles - Olympic Gold Medalist
"I think the people and the food. Just because I love coming here and being with all the people and my family."

Voice of: Fan #2
"While you're here in Belize, what is your favorite Belizean dish?"

Simone Biles - Olympic Gold Medalist
"My favorite Belizean dish would be stew chicken and rice and beans."

Voice of: Fan #3
"Good morning Simone I wanted to ask if you see potential in Belizean youths in the gymnastic arena like the tumblers you saw when you arrived?"

Simone Biles - Olympic Gold Medalist
"Yes honestly I thought the tumblers were better than me because I tumble without shoes but on a spring floor and they were doing it on concrete so I give them props, that's something crazy."

The crowd was filled with young Belizean athletes and coaches who were eager to get advice from one of the most decorated athletes of her generation.

Voice of: Fan #4
"I wanted to ask you if you ever get nervous and if you do, how do you deal with it?"

Simone Biles - Olympic Gold Medalist
"Sometimes I do get nervous whenever I go out there to compete but then I remember and remind myself how many routines and how many times I've gone over everything and how well I've done it. So I just go out there and autopilot kicks in."

Voice of: Fan #5
"And when you do make mistakes, what are you thinking when you're in front of all those people? what do you say to yourself to encourage yourself to keep on going?"

Simone Biles - Olympic Gold Medalist
"I just try not to think about it, I just try to keep going because some of the mistakes that we make some people don't even notice them. Like on bars, if you do something and you mess up, if you just keep swinging, the judges sometimes don't know your routine so you don't really think about it you just kind of think 'what's next?' so that you still keep a good routine."

Voice of: Fan #6
"Morning Simone, you did a stellar, amazing job at the Olympics with all those gold medals, but after that, do you feel pressured about not making mistakes since your Olympic performance?"

Simone Biles - Olympic Gold Medalist
"Not necessarily because we all make mistakes, but you learn from them and you sometimes can't stop them, it's part of the sports, part of the lifestyle, but I just try not to think about it and just think about how many times I've done them right."

Voice of: Fan #7
"Hi Simone, thank you to be here. You're just so awesome and a role model for my daughter who's also a gymnast in level 7. I know it's very difficult, it's one of the hardest sports to do because it develops your body, mind, everything. I really thank you for doing that for my daughter but I wanted to find out, being a mom for a gymnast, where does that drive come from? Is it mostly when you go through difficult times, injuries and challenges of making mistakes, where does that drive come from? Is it from you or from people who support you? Sometimes I don't know when to stand back and don't do anything."

Simone Biles - Olympic Gold Medalist
"I think it comes from both sides but me being an athlete growing up, it always came from me but it always comes through help from family, friends and all your mentors, because you're not alone in that situation. So it's kind of like a push and pull situation. Your friends and family knows when to push or pull back but other than that I've always wanted to do it and I've always struggled with some things going through it but I always kept an open mind about it."

Voice of: Fan #8
"So you are the best gymnast in the world. I mean that's pretty awesome."

Simone Biles - Olympic Gold Medalist
"Thank you."

Voice of: Fan #8
"I mean obviously you've known that you've been good for a long time but when did you start to even think that the best in the world was even part of the conversation?"

Simone Biles - Olympic Gold Medalist
"I actually didn't realize how good I was until probably 15-16 years old because it kind of hit me later when I was a mess, younger and in gymnastics I was all over the place. I got it together and whenever I went to my first world championships I was with Kyla Ross, Mikayla Maroni and Brenda... and I was like 'they've been to the Olympics; they've been to worlds'. Then you step on the international scene and I said 'I'm competing with Olympians, like maybe I am good now'. Then I won my first worlds and I said 'okay maybe I can keep up'. So that's kind of when it hit me and I started having confidence and believing in myself that I can keep up with the older girls."

Voice of: Fan #8
"So when you started beating them?"

Simone Biles - Olympic Gold Medalist
"Yes When I started beating them, I guess."

The crowd was also very interested in Biles' workout routine, eagerly questioning her about her diet and training process.

Voice of: Fan #9
"Hi, I would like to know what is your typical workout routine?"

Simone Biles - Olympic Gold Medalist
"I do train twice a day in the morning and in the evening. I usually go over all my routines or all my skills and do basics in the morning and conditioning. Then at night it's sometimes routines and go over conditioning again and any basics that I missed."

Voice of: Fan #10
"What does your diet consist of when you are training?"

Simone Biles - Olympic Gold Medalist
"Whenever I'm training I eat a lot of protein, vegetables, fish, chicken. Usually I try to stay on the healthier side but I do go out and have ice cream and stuff like that occasionally."

While Biles is still young herself, she is an inspiration to a new generation of athletes who aspire represent their country on the international stage.

Mia Chang - Level 7 Gymnast
"Sometimes I have struggles and I just look at Simone and how many struggles she had. Now I know how far I can go."

Alex Courtenay, 7News
"So would you say that she is one of your major inspirations?"

Mia Chang - Level 7 Gymnast
"Yes I would. She makes me want to go further each time."

Alex Courtenay, 7News
"Does that mean that you are aspiring to go to the Olympics just like her?"

Mia Chang - Level 7 Gymnast
"Yeah."

Ashanti Carr - CODICADER Track and Field Gold Medalist
"My experience as a young Belizean athlete is very successful because when I go out I always bring back medal. For her to be here and inspire us to push and give that extra push just to show that we can be as good as her."

Alex Courtenay, 7News
"So knowing that she is Belizean and that she made it all the way to the Olympics, does that inspire you or does that keep your mind open to how far you can go?"

Ashanti Carr - CODICADER Track and Field Gold Medalist
"Definitely."

Alex Courtenay, 7News
"So then we should expect to see you representing Belize at a much higher level soon?"

Ashanti Carr - CODICADER Track and Field Gold Medalist
"Yes very soon."

Biles was scheduled to leave the country today.

Channel 7


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