Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles grace the cover of Teen Vogue’s August 2016 issue. The two gymnasts will compete against one another at the Rio Olympics in just 36 days, and ahead of the Games they open up to the publication about the sport they love.
Gabby made history twice during the 2012 Olympics in London, as the first African-American all-around Olympic champion and the first U.S. gymnast to win both that title and the team gold in the same Games – all at age 16.
“It was just insane knowing that I had spent my whole life dreaming about this one specific goal and achieved it,” Gabby recalls about the incredible achievement. She also reveals that she never believed she’d make it big:
“It took a long time for me to see my own potential — a long time,” she admits. It wasn’t until just four months before the Olympic trials in 2012 that she realized what exactly what she was capable of. “Finally something clicked and I knew I could be one of the best. It was a game changer. Now I’m like, ‘I am going for this. I’m going for it all.’”
Simone, who’ll be competing in her first Olympics when things kick off in Rio says:
“It’s never been a goal. I take things one step at a time… If I thought of gymnastics as a job, it would put too much stress on me. At the end of the day, if I can say I had fun, it was a good day.”
In 2013, when Italian gymnast Carlotta Ferlito infamously stated, “Next time we should also paint our skin black, so we can win too,” Simone was unfazed. “It went viral, but it didn’t bother me one bit,” she explains. “I guess I just have really tough skin. I was like, whatever.”
To read more on Gabby and Simone and to catch more pics, visit Teen Vogue.