Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles says she openly shares her Christian faith with the children she meets so they can learn how it has helped her get through all of life's challenges.
"Kids today talk about faith, and I think it's OK for me to share my faith so kids can see how it helps you through the whole process," she said in an interview with The Houston Chronicle.
Biles, the first African-American to become a world all-around champion, said ahead of the Olympics that she leans heavily on her Catholic faith before comeptitions. "Before a big event, I usually go to church and light a candle for St Sebastian, who is the patron saint of athletes."
The 19-year-old gymnast won four gold medals and one bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She's also the first woman to win three consecutive world all-around titles before the Olympic Games in Rio, and is the most decorated American female gymnast in world championships history.
Biled released her first book, Courage to Soar, earlier this month and said she hopes it will inspire readers to pursue their dreams too.
"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," Biles said in a statement shared with The Christian Post. "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."
Along with her accomplishments, Biles' book highlights some of the hardships she's endured and overcome on the road to success.
"For me, it took years of training and perseverance to reach my goals," she said. "But looking back on it now, I'm glad I didn't give up."
A description of Biles' book reveals just how much her faith has had an impact on her success.
"Through years of hard work and determination, she has relied on her faith and family to stay focused and positive, while having fun competing at the highest level and doing what she loves," a description of the book reads.
"Here, in her own words, Simone takes you through the events, challenges, and trials that carried her from an early childhood in foster care to a coveted spot on the 2016 Olympic team. Along the way, Simone shares the details of her inspiring personal story — one filled with the kinds of daily acts of courage that led her, and can lead you, to even the most unlikely of dreams."