Simone Biles' Dad Is An Advocate For His Daughter

When Simone Biles was competing early in the Rio games, an ill-advised comment by NBC announcer Al Trautwig had many people asking: Who is Ron Biles? Trautwig had asserted that Ron and his wife Nellie were not Simone's "real parents," on the grounds that Simone is adopted. But despite not being Simone's biological father, Ron is very much her parent: He's her biological grandfather and, legally, her father. Perhaps more importantly, Simone considers them her parents.

Simone was born to Shanon Biles. But Shanon reportedly struggled with drug and alcohol problems, and because of this, Simone and her younger sister, Adria, were placed in foster care. When Ron, Shanon's father, heard about this, he and his wife, Nellie, weren't having any of it, and the two offered to take care of Ron's granddaughters.

"The social worker called and said the kids were in foster care,'" Ron told the Daily Mail. "I said: 'Send them to me.' I didn't want them to be raised by a stranger."

Simone and Adria lived with Ron for about two years, then returned to live with their biological mother. But Shanon had not overcome her reported drug problems, and pretty soon, the two girls were put up for adoption. Once again, Ron and Nellie stepped up to the plate, and eventually, Simone and Adria started calling them "mom" and "dad."

Ron used to serve in the Air Force and later got a job installing air traffic control systems. He often had to travel on business, and so did Nellie, who operated a chain of nursing homes. Now, both of them are retired.

Despite the controversy surrounding Trautwig's "not her real parents" comment," Ron isn't bitter. Rather, he sees the dust-up as an opportunity to draw attention to adoption and foster care as alternatives to biological parenting.

"It is a wonderful thing," he said of foster care and adoption in an interview with USA Today. "It gives you the opportunity to enrich the life of yourself and the child, and enrich everyone who is involved in your life." He added that "raising kids is just a wonderful thing," and that he "can't think of anything more satisfying."

The story of Simone, Ron, and Nellie is a reminder that non-traditional family structures can produce children who are just as happy and healthy as those raised in standard nuclear families. It's also a reminder that at the end of the day, having supportive and loving relationships in your life is what matters, regardless of what titles they hold.