The buzz of excitement and smiles on people’s faces lined the Main Post Exchange from end-to-end as Fort Hood families waited for the start of the Simone Biles “Courage to Soar” book signing event Jan. 18.

“We are so excited to be here,” said Denise Bernard, a local mom who arrived early with her daughter and her friend.

Biles’ book was published in November and came from a desire to share her story with the world, she said. She was excited by the opportunity to meet her fans at Fort Hood.

“It means a lot that they invited me out here to do my book signing and get to meet all the military people,” Biles said. “It does mean a lot to me.”

Throughout the event, children and adults were seen running up the line, cellphone or camera in hand, to catch a glimpse of — and try to take a selfie with — Biles.

Biles hoped her book would inspire young people to follow their dreams, no matter what’s happened in the past.

“A lot of people try to make my story a little bit more than it is. I think of it as a blessing,” she said. “I hope (the book) inspires (young people) that no matter where you come from, it’s what you do and where you go with it.”

Biles confessed that when she first started doing gymnastics she wasn’t very good, but one day something inside her switched and, from then on, got increasingly better.

One day, she noticed things had changed. “I think it was when I was about 15 or 16 years old when I went to my first world championships and I won that. Then it all started to change.”

She wasn’t just a face in the crowd anymore. Biles was becoming well-known throughout the world.

Many parents in line at the book signing were glad to have Biles there as a positive role model for their children. Some even signed their kids out of school so they could meet Biles.

“(We watched) the Olympics and (recorded) it,” said Rano Holmes, a mother of two young girls.

Holmes said Biles shares many things in common with her children, including being biracial. Holmes said she wants her girls to know somebody like them has been successful and that race has nothing to do with it.

“No matter what race, no matter where you are starting, no matter what your social background, you can become a big, strong personality in the future,” Holmes said. “Watching the Olympics made a big difference for them to actually see.”

While taking the year off, Biles plans to continue her book tour and begin training for 2020 at the end of the year.

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