Simone Biles in Simone Biles Rising documentary on Netflix

Photo: Netflix

'Simone Biles Rising' documents the gymnast's powerful return to the spotlight at the Paris Olympics

The four-part Netflix documentary will take viewers behind the scenes of Biles’ journey over the past four years.

It was back in 2020 when Simone Biles made headlines as she withdrew from various events at the Tokyo Summer Olympics to focus on her mental health. Now, the gymnast is ready to speak more about her big decision and the reality of being a Black, female athlete. As Biles prepares to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, a new Netflix documentary titled Simone Biles Rising will take viewers behind the scenes of Biles’ journey over the past four years.

“She’s the greatest in the world. She’s also human,” Netflix announced this week, describing the production as a “sports series documenting one of the most powerful comebacks in history”. 

The four-part documentary series will address the competitiveness of her sport, the pressure to win as a female gymnast in the public eye, and her determination to return to the global stage.

“We are all the authors of our own journeys, and I am in a place in my life where I’m comfortable with who I am and what I’ve been through as an athlete, but most of all, as a person,” Biles says in an official statement. “Gymnastics is what I do but it's not who I am, and I'm excited for people to see another side of me outside of competition.

“I know there are young girls out there who look to me for inspiration and are faced with similar challenges, and my hope is that this documentary helps to empower them to be true to who they are and never give up on their dreams,” she adds. 

In a new trailer released by the streaming platform ahead of Part 1 premiering on July 17, Biles speaks about not only the expectations placed on her, but just how quickly public opinion can change. 

“People love to watch the come up. As soon as you win, ‘God I hate her’,” she says in a voiceover featured in the clip. “But everything that happened, it’s a trauma response.” 

The 27-year-old also credits her family, friends and inner circle for supporting her over the past few years. 

“I wanted to quit like 500,000 times and I would have if it weren’t for my people,” she says. “I knew it would be a long journey, but to me it wasn’t done. Sometimes you have to take that power back

Directed by Katie Walsh with executive producers Gotham Chopra, Ameeth Sankaran, Giselle Parets, and Janey Miller with Religion of Sports (McGregor Forever) in association with the Olympics Channel, the documentary features sit-down interviews with Biles and those closest to her, including her husband Jonathan Owens, who says “She’s bounced back, and she’s really opened my eyes”. 

Simone Biles in Simone Biles Rising documentary on Netflix

Fellow American gymnast and former teammate Aly Raisman is also interviewed in the documentary. Speaking about Biles’ return to the Olympics, she tells producers in the trailer, “I know that she’s expected to win all the Gold medals, but even the fact she’s trying to come back is really amazing”. 

The 45-minute episodes will also feature Biles’ video diaries, the gymnast’s practice sessions and the more lighthearted moments in her life outside of work. 

Biles returned to the mat in 2023, and most recently won the top title at the 2024 US Gymnastics Championships. With the Paris Olympics kicking off on July 26, many fans of Biles will undoubtedly tune into the documentary beforehand. 

Simone Biles Rising – Part 1 releases on Netflix on July 17.