Simone Biles and teammate Jordan Chiles felt the love when they returned home to Houston after competing at the Tokyo Olympics.
More than 100 supporters equipped with colorful signs and flags gathered at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Thursday to cheer on the gymnasts returning from Olympic games full of literal twists and turns, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The crowd, with gymnasts from the World Champion Centre and the Biles family-operated Spring gym, waited for Biles and Chiles after their flight from New York was delayed.
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“These girls are all gymnasts. They all love her,” Lesley Brousseau-Barton, whose 11-year-old daughter, Madison, trains at World Champions Centre, told the Houston Chronicle.
The Chronicle reported that Madison spent hours making a sign for Chiles, one for Biles and one for them both.
“I did it to show that some people care about her and it doesn’t matter how many medals she wins,” Madison told the outlet.
Biles, 24, was welcomed not only by fans but also by her family and French bulldog, Rambo.
“Simone was doing this for herself, and she’d been gone for so long without her family, so I think it’s good that we just welcomed her back and everyone’s super-emotional,” her sister, Aria told ABC 13, Newsweek reported.
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Biles posted her reunion with her family on Instagram with the caption “Houston, I’m home. Thanks for making sure I didn’t have to wait one more minute to see my family @united.”
Chiles’ parents, Timothy and Gina, had a bouquet of flowers and their daughter’s favorite candy bar, Twix, on hand for her arrival. They were excited to take her out to eat after she had been on a strict gymnast diet.
“This is their down time to relax, because in a few days they’re back at it full time,” Timothy told The Chronicle.
Chiles was called on to compete in the women’s all-around gymnastics team final after Biles got a case of “the twisties,” a condition when gymnasts lose their sense of awareness in the air. Team USA won the silver medal behind the Russian Olympic Committee, which won gold.
Biles withdrew from the all-around, vault, floor and uneven bars individual events before making a comeback on the balance beam event and winning bronze – her seventh Olympic medal, tying her for the most medals won by a U.S. gymnast.
“All these girls have, at some point, faced mental blocks – they suddenly lose track of where they are in the air or on ground, and they’ll come home in tears,” Brousseau-Barton told The Chronicle.
“For her to stand up for her own health means so much to them.”
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Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Simone Biles cheered on by fans as she and Jordan Chiles return to Houston from Tokyo Olympics