- Simone Biles has added high-flying tricks to the three first pitches she’s thrown at MLB games.
- The superstar gymnast revealed to Uniwatch that she practiced considerably ahead of each pitch.
- Biles said she and her dad played catch to ensure she wouldn’t “end up in one of those ‘fail’ videos.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Simone Biles takes her craft seriously — even when training for a sport other than her own.
The superstar gymnast and four-time Olympic gold medalist has thrown first pitches at three Major League Baseball games in recent years. Her first was in 2016, and her most recent in the 2019 World Series. Each time, in typical Biles fashion, she included flips and tricks to add extra flair.
The clips went viral, and Biles seems at ease in all of them. But she revealed to Uniwatch’s Paul Lukas that she was terrified of throwing a wild pitch.
“I was so nervous,” Biles told Lukas. “Much more nervous than I’d be for gymnastics.”
Simone Biles throws the first pitch at a Houston Astros game.
Tim Warner/Getty Images
Biles never played softball or baseball, so she made time to practice ahead of her MLB cameos. She told Lukas that her dad feared she could “end up in one of those ‘fail’ videos,” so the pair played catch to ensure she wouldn’t mess up in front of a stadium full of fans.
“The flips were second nature, but throwing a ball afterward — I practiced that one or two times, just to make sure,” Biles said. “My dad made me stand in the driveway with him and throw a ball back and forth, just to make sure I knew how.”
It worked. Ahead of a Houston Astros home game against the Seattle Mariners on July 4, 2016, Biles brilliantly executed an aerial — a cartwheel with no hands — before throwing a solid pitch.
Then she returned to the mound just over a year later to throw the first pitch at the Cleveland Indians’ Progressive Field. This time, Biles transitioned from a pirouette to a split leap before releasing the ball.
“I was happy with the way the first one turned out,” she told Lukas. “But I didn’t want it to be the same thing, the same routine. So I switched it up a bit.”
Biles’ dad liked both performances, she added.
“Especially the one for the Indians, since that’s his team,” she said, “and our family is basically from Ohio.”
Biles’ grandest display — and the one with the highest stakes — came ahead of Game Two of the 2019 World Series between her hometown Astros and the Washington Nationals. For that, she whipped out a backflip with a twist before firing off a pitch at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.
But Biles’ impressive start to the game wasn’t enough to propel her team to victory. The Nationals racked up four runs on Astros ace pitcher Justin Verlander, finishing with a 12-3 win and taking a 2-0 lead in the series. Washington went on to win the seven-game World Series.
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