Simone Biles: Body image issue was biggest personal challenge

Updated 1556 GMT (2356 HKT) July 7, 2017

Monaco (CNN)Rio's Olympics propelled Simone Biles to stratospheric levels of fame.

The 19-year-old was the darling of the Games, winning four gymnastics gold medals and dazzling the watching world with her skill and sunny temperament.
Her excellence proved the early pinnacle of a journey that presented Biles with formidable obstacles, not only in terms of her early family life, but also her own body image.
It can be a touchstone issue for teenage girls in the sport, their muscular physiques marking them out as different to their peers, and Biles says she was teased at school, mostly by the boys.
"I think in the gymnastics world, it is your body figure because you get a little bit shy about your body because you are very muscular," Biles told CNN when asked what was the biggest personal challenge she has had to overcome.
"But we wouldn't be able to do the things or achieve the things we did without our bodies so we're very grateful for them."
If her tumble skills look effortless, Biles' ability to shrug off taunts about her body shape only came through some painful experiences.
In a 2016 interview with CNN, Biles explained: "Going to public school nobody really had a body build that I did, and I was a girl, so the guys would sometimes make fun of me.
"I think they were just jealous because they didn't have the muscle definition I did. I would try to hide my muscles, not show them, and I would always wear a jacket."
It's just another strand of the intense scrutiny Biles has been under since her Olympic success.
After taking gold in the all-around, vault, floor and team competitions, as well as winning bronze in the beam, the conversation around her looks intensified, leading to negative comments on social media.
It prompted her to hit back at her accusers: "You all can judge my body all you want, but at the end of the day it's MY body. I love it & I'm comfortable in my skin."
Two of Biles' gold medal-winning teammates from Rio have encountered similar problems.
Gabby Douglas, a gold medal-winning teammate of Biles, suffered at the hands of online trolls and Aly Raisman has described as "completely normal" her feelings of insecurity relating to her body.
If Biles encounters any element of insecurity relating to her ability, recalling that brilliance in Brazil should help.
Never before had a woman from the US won four gold medals at a single Olympics, and her complete haul of five medals in Rio cemented her status as America's most decorated gymnast.

Early troubles

Biles' difficult upbringing has been well documented, but key to her success has been positive role models within her extended family.
She was placed in foster care aged just three due to her mother Shanon's ongoing battle with drug and alcohol addiction.
In 2003, Biles and her sister Adria were adopted by her grandparents, Ron and Nellie Biles and moved to live with them in Spring, Texas, while her two brothers moved in with Ron's sister.
The grandparents' influence was pivotal in Biles' early life and she credits her adoptive mom and dad as being one of her biggest inspirations.
"Outside of gymnastics it was my parents because they're such good role models," she said.
"They've never steered us wrong and they've always let us choose what we've wanted to do and they would just help us guide that the best way they could.
"And then in gymnastics either the 2008 or 2012 Olympic Team because we wanted to be just like them."
Her journey to gold was down to a field trip visit to a gymnastics studio in Houston as a schoolgirl.
Biles returned home with a note suggesting she be enrolled into a class such was her natural aptitude for the sport.