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Houston welcomes Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles back home at Bush Airport

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Olympic gymnast waves at fans at Bush Airport after arriving back home to Houston

HOUSTON – Olympians Simone Biles and Jordan Chiles got a Texas-sized welcome at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Over a hundred fans, Houstonians, members of the World Championship Centre, the Biles’ gymnastic training facility in Spring and United Airlines welcomed the pair back to Houston after they brought back three medals from Tokyo.

Simone and Jordan were reunited with their family and closest friends Thursday afternoon.

They were overwhelmed by all of the love and support from the community.

Some of Simone’s biggest fans say they are proud of her accomplishments. Fans packed Terminal C with signs, cards and balloons.

One gymnast painted a picture for Simone.

“It says good job Simone, and I added a star on it and I got a picture of her,” the gymnast said.

Simone is still the goat and the most decorated gymnast. She received support from all over the world after she withdrew from the team finals and three other events. She said she wanted to put her mental health first.

Simone’s sister Adria and her best friend Rachel Moore said they were glad that she is back home.

“It was super emotional. It was hard for her family not to be there in Toyoko, so now that we can hug her and physically touch her, it’s really nice,” Adria said. Proud is an understatement. She is so amazing and I don’t think people put their mental health in front like a priority. I’m so glad she can inspire people and tell them that it’s okay,” Adria said.

Hours after the celebration at the airport, Simone posted pictures to Instagram embracing her mom Nellie and dad Ron.

Also waiting to welcome the gymnast home was her boyfriend Jonathan Owens of the Texans. Owens expressed the difficulty of a more than two-week separation.

“It was kind of tough. It was actually the longest that we’ve been apart since we first started dating and everything,” Owens said. “But I was just making sure I was there, being that extra voice for her since she couldn’t have family and everything there.”

The love and support didn’t stop there.

Simone and Jordan were also treated to a parade where they live and train in Spring. Dozens of supporters turned out with signs and banners to speak the greatest phrase one can hear after a long trip -- “Welcome Home.”

“She lives in the neighborhood and it’s no place like home,” said one neighbor. “We wanted her to feel at home when she got here. So we came up with the idea and here we are. "

Simone's neighbors in Spring sent her a warm welcome home
Simone's neighbors in Spring sent her a warm welcome home

One of the things that made the separation tougher for Simone and Jordan -- as well as just about all of the athletes -- is this was the first time many of them have ever competed without family and loved ones in the stands.

Watch: Simone Biles greeted at Houston airport after her return from Tokyo Olympics:

RELATED CONTENT: Watch All-around champion gymnast Suni Lee reuniting with family for first time since Olympics


About the Authors:

Award-winning journalist, mother, YouTuber, social media guru, millennial, mentor, storyteller, University of Houston alumna and Houston-native.