Bristol gymnast Riley Simmonds said he first experienced bullying for wearing a leotard at the gym where he first trained. Rather than letting it get to him, he used it to his advantage, pushing himself to do even better. Riley’s mother said gymnastics has been excellent for his confidence, determination, and focus, leaving him able to inspire others.
“I like inspiring people and telling them, ‘Tell other people to be kind, and don’t worry about getting bullied,” Riley said. “Be motivated, and just don’t listen to them if they say anything bad to you.”
Riley trains around 23 hours per week as part of his Bristol Hawks Gymnastics Club elite team, in addition to maintaining his social media presence and modeling for brands like Nike and Sports Direct. With the confidence Riley shows, the distinctive birthmark on his face becomes a feature to be highlighted instead of downplayed.
Dreaming of the Olympics
Riley’s hard work is leading him in a clear direction. The young gymnast dreams of participating in the Olympics as one of the United Kingdom’s elite athletes. His favorite activity is the high bar because it makes him feel like flying.
“What I love about gymnastics is that I get to learn new skills; I get to meet new friends, go to competitions, go to different places around England,” Riley said, adding that his travels can sometimes take him abroad.
Sharing his story on social media
Riley Simmonds is using his social media platforms to tell his story online and help combat bullying by spreading compassion and kindness.
Riley also puts his efforts into fundraising and awareness efforts, helping others to achieve their goals and bringing attention to worthy causes.