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Dec 29, 2016

Simone Biles Concludes Belize Vacation with Motivational Talk to Athletes

It was Simone Biles’ last day in Belize and after a week of enjoying all that the country has to offer, her last activity was to have an open talk with young athletes and students. The nineteen-year-old gymnast spoke about her experience in the world of sports and her journey as a successful gold medalist. Biles says it wasn’t easy but that you should always dream big. News Five’s Duane Moody and intern Maria-Isabel Reneau reports from the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts.

 

Maria Reneau, Reporting

She’s been touring the country for a week now at the request of the Belize Tourism Board for an all expense paid visit to the Jewel, but this afternoon, gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles left Belize en route to her home in Spring, Texas, U.S.A.  While it wasn’t the first time that she had vacationed in the country, her time here was spent doing tours on San Pedro and in Cayo while also being an inspiration to the youth and athletes in Belize. The final leg of her trip took her to the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts this morning where the National Sports Council featured Biles in a discussion with athletes and students.

 

Ritchel Dominguez

Ritchel Dominguez, Director, National Sports Council

“It’s a part of sports in Belize and it shows us where effort can take us if we have that drive to accomplish so much in sports and this is where this time we want to see sports go where we can have our gymnasts more accessible to represent us at the next Olympics, to represent us out of the country. We need to start getting the associations together so that we can get this drive that we can get them up to par where we can have events like this in bringing back our local Belizeans and getting them well equipped for sports.”

 

In her presentation before Belizean athletes and sports enthusiasts, the nineteen-year-old professional athlete spoke of the challenges in getting ahead in sports.

 

Simone Biles

Simone Biles, Olympian/Gold Medalist

“I do train twice a day—in the morning and in the evening—and I usually go over all my routines or all my skills and do basics in the morning and conditioning. And then at night, it is sometimes routines and then go over conditioning again and then any basics that I missed.”

 

Participant

“What tips can you give us as athletes to pursue our careers?”

 

Simone Biles

“I would just say always dream big because whenever I was little, even though I did wanted to go to the Olympics, I didn’t think it was a possibility because there are so many people competing in the country for that same reason. But I always work towards it and I think that if you dream big, you can achieve anything.”

 

Alexander Alvarado

Those struggles and achievements resonated with local athletes who now have a renewed hope that they will overcome the many challenges in the sports industry. National track and field stars Ashanti Carr and Alexander Alvarado say they are ready for the international stage.

 

Alexander Alvarado, Track & Field Athlete

“Learning her background and hearing her speak is awesome because I didn’t know she loved Belize much—she considers our country her second home—so she was very motivating.”

 

Ashanti Carr

Ashanti Carr, Track & Field Athlete

“Like what he said, it inspired me because I didn’t know she went through so many things and become so big at the end. And that inspire me.”

 

Alexander Alvarado

“Well of course because as national athletes here, we are always competing, we train hard. And when we see our own Belizean, African American, it inspires us to give us more motivation to say that we can make it as well also.”

 

This was just one of the many activities organized through the B.T.B. as a tool—not only to inspire athletes, but also as a marketing strategy for the country. Public Relations Manager Jocelle Stephens says Biles’ visit was a success.

 

Jocelle Stephens

Jocelle Stephens, PR Manager, B.T.B.

“This was very important for us for her to share her experience, her life story with the youths of Belize so that it can be an inspiration. So we are very grateful that she took the time out to accept our invitation to come to Belize. This was a quick win opportunity that we saw; it was trending at the moment and we decided that it was great opportunity to promote Belize, which is our mandate at the B.T.B.  So we are really grateful that this was the conclusion. I think it was a well planned event and Simone has enjoyed her stay here.”

 

Maria Reneau for News Five.

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