Special to South Florida Times

Editor’s Note: Recently the South Florida Times ran a contest giving our readers an opportunity to win a chance to meet and interview champion Simone Biles, the most decorated American gymnast in history. Chassidy Simpson – an aspiring gymnast who looks up to Biles – won the contest. Below Simpson shares her experience meeting the iconic Biles in her own words. Read below to see why we believe Simpson at only 10- years-old is already exuding her own brand of Black Girl Magic.

My name is Chassidy Simpson. I’m 10 years old, and I’ve been doing gymnastics since I was six. When my mom told me I could win a chance to meet Simone Biles, I got so excited, but I didn’t really think it would happen.

When I found out I won, I screamed so loud and I couldn’t stop smiling. My experience meeting Simone was crazy. When I first got to the BB&T Center I didn’t get to meet her right away, but I saw her practicing for her show the next day. I couldn’t believe I was so close to meeting my idol.

When the press conference started I got to sit and ask questions just like all the media people there. I felt important and I was so happy to be able to ask her things that could help me in my future with gymnastics.

Meeting Simone made me think about how I can also be the next big gymnast even though I started late. Meeting her was exciting. The whole time I was talking to her I was shaking and very nervous. All of her answers helped me understand how to be just like her in gymnastics.

One question that I asked Simone was about how she kept going when she felt like giving up. She explained how she kept her goals of going to the Olympics in her mind all the time and that’s what pushed her.

One thing I asked her that really inspired me was who was her inspiration. Her answer was Alicia Sacramone. The reason this answer was so important to me was because I had a chance to train with Alicia at my gym, TAG USA Gymnastics, last year.

Training with Alicia was very hard and I ended up quitting and giving up being on the fast track team. After talking to Simone, it made me realize that I should’ve kept trying and I wish I would have never (given) up on that opportunity.

But it also made me see that it’s not too late to try again. The best part about this experience was that I got to meet my role model and not most people get to do that.

Getting to just see her in person was just a magnificent moment. I honestly was very star struck. I’m very thankful that I got to see her perform too. It was cool to see her be able to perform and have fun without having to be so serious like when she’s competing.

Simone shows everyone that they can accomplish what she’s accomplished on the road to Rio and when she made it. Simone is a hardworking person that I really look up to and I’m glad that I got to meet her. I will never ever forget this experience. It was the best day of my life. Thank you again BB&T Center and South Florida Times for this cool, fun experience.

Chassidy Simpson was born in Pembroke Pines, Florida. She lives with her mother, father and younger brother. Her mother, Kodra is a Registered Nurse. Her father, Chad is a retired NFL football player and entrepreneur. She has one sibling, three-year-old brother Champ. Chassidy is a fifth grade student at Silver Shores Elementary school, where she takes advanced/gifted classes, and is also the President of her school/student council. Her favorite subject is reading. Chassidy started gymnastics at the age of six and is currently training at TAG USA Gymnastics in Weston, Florida.