Aug 5, 2021
Sarah BarshopESPN Staff Writer
- Covered the Packers for ESPN Milwaukee
- Marquette University graduate
HOUSTON — Early in the morning on July 27, Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens was watching his girlfriend, Simone Biles, compete in the Olympics.
But after she vaulted in the gymnastics team final and walked off to talk to her coach, Owens said he felt sick to his stomach, knowing what Biles was going through. Biles withdrew from the event, later saying she needed to focus on her mental health after experiencing the “twisties” while competing.
“I was sick for her, just because I can see her face, I kind of know her facial expressions, I can kind of read her lips and kind of know what was going on and kind of what she was telling her coach,” Owens said Thursday. “I kind of already knew what was going on beforehand, so I was just really hoping she was going to get over it and be able to go out there and perform. So I was sick to my stomach because she wasn’t able to go out there.”
Owens, who said this was the longest the two have been apart since they started dating, said he was just trying to “be that extra voice” for Biles and help her stay positive.
“She was kind of in a funk when everything wasn’t going right,” Owens said. “When you’re used to everything going right for so long, and all of a sudden you kind of hit a hiccup in your performance, you kind of get down on yourself, kind of lose confidence. And that was kind of one of the things I was trying to make sure … keep her positive.
“It was hard for me to really understand what she was going through because I’m not on that stage and dealing with those pressures and everything, but I just try to be as understanding as possible.”
Biles withdrew from the all-around competition and individual vault, floor and uneven bars event finals, but she capped off her Olympics by winning the bronze medal in the balance beam. Biles has now won seven Olympic medals, which ties Shannon Miller for the most by an American female gymnast.
“I was so proud of her,” Owens said. “Just to be able to overcome mentally what was going on. She kind of altered her beam routine, but I was just happy for her.”