LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – Nebraska gymnastics is making headlines after Olympian Simone Biles showed up at a home meet this past weekend. The visit by one of the most decorated Olympians in U.S. history had some fans wondering what her connection is to the university. For the last four years, gymnast Khalil Jackson has been trying to get Biles to come to one of his Husker meets.
The pair have been friends for the last seven years and this past weekend, Biles was in the stands cheering on her hometown friend. Having one of the most decorated gymnasts visit Nebraska may have been a surprise to Husker nation. For one Husker, it’s been years in the making.
“It’s unexpected to see someone like Simone Biles in Nebraska,” Khalil Jackson said. “I’ve been trying so hard to get her out here and I couldn’t even do that.”
That was until this past weekend, when Simone Biles showed up to support Jackson who is a senior on the team.
The two are both from the Houston area, and first met when Khalil was at a national team camp about seven years ago. However, they didn’t meet in person.
“I heard one of my friends on Facetime with her, and so I knocked on his door and was like ‘Johnny, let me in, I want to say hi and then I’ll leave,’ so I walked in said ‘Hi Simone’ and dashed out,” Jackson said.
The friendship grew from there. Now the two have a tight bond. They Snapchat and text every time. Jackson even Face times with Simone’s sister and parents.
“Our friendship has been genuine ever since the first day I met her. Since then, the last seven years have just been building upon that,” Jackson said.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt having a 7-time Olympic medalist in your corner for training.
“We go back and forth. I’ll send her videos of stuff I do on high bar and she’ll send stuff of vault. We just send each other videos and tips on how to improve on it,” Jackson said.
The Husker gymnast was named an All-American as a freshman, and as a senior he’s a specialist on the pommel horse. Now he’s brought a new fan into Husker nation.
“Just seeing my friends come out and support me and coming was something special,” Jackson said.
Jackson said he tried to keep it a secret from his team that Simone was coming to the meet. But, eventually he had to spill and she was able to meet them all afterwards and take pictures.