Simone Biles Was Bullied for Her Muscular Arms: ‘I Wore Sweaters or Jackets All Year Long’
Biles says that being around her fellow gymnasts helped her feel comfortable in her body.
“People would say mean things at the time. They used to call me a ‘swoldier,’ which didn’t make me feel the best,” Biles, 20, told Today. “I wore sweaters or jackets all year long to cover my arms.”
“As gymnasts, we look similar to each other, so we’ve helped each love our bodies because it helps us with what we do,” Biles said. “Everybody looked the same, had the same muscular build and we could all do things that other athletes couldn’t do.”
“Aly Raisman helped me a lot with my body-confidence issues and helped me learn to love how I look,” Biles added. “She’s taught me a lot along the way, but most of the time it’s just the same message: love yourself.”
These days, the Dancing with the Stars champ wears what she wants.
“Now, I show off my arms all the time,” Biles said. “I wish I could tell my younger self to be positive about my body, because when you learn to love your body, you learn to fall in love with yourself.”
And she now knows that her opinion is the only one that matters when it comes to the way she looks.
“To me, healthy body image is when you feel confident with yourself — inside and out,” Biles said. “If you love your body, then that’s all you can do. It doesn’t matter what anybody else says.”