Simone Biles may be taking time off from gymnastics training, but she’s keeping herself busy with a lofty new goal — encouraging the next generation of female athletes to feel fierce on and off the field.
The 4′ 8″ gymnastics dynamo picked up five medals at the Rio Olympics last summer, and she’s been traveling, promoting partnerships and speaking to young women about gender equality in sports ever since.
“A big focus for me right now is inspiring the next generation of female athletes to dominate in sports like just men, which we honestly proved at the Olympics when women overall picked up more medals than men,” Biles, 20, tells PEOPLE. “Because once you are in the spotlight you need to use that momentum.”
Biles, who is nominated for favorite female athlete at Sunday’s Kids’ Choice Sports 2017, as well as for best female athlete at Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards, says it’s not something that she and her Final Five teammates Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocia and Laurie Hernandez discussed — but they’ve all used their sizable platforms to inspire young female athletes.
“There’s so much focus on men in sports, so we just want women to know to never give up and chase their dreams,” she says. “We’re always doing that, we’re always on.”
Her comments come just days after the five-time Olympian blasted an online hater who attacked her for posting a picture of herself lounging with a beverage on Instagram.
“Seems like u have partied non stop for a year #trash #unfollow #suckya—rolemodel,” the user wrote in the comments.
“Talk to me when you train for 14 years and earn 5 Olympic medals. I think kids would say otherwise. My year off is well deserved! Take a couple seats,” Biles wrote in response.
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 9, 2017
Biles says she’ll start up training in the fall with basic conditioning — but right now she’s “really enjoying” her time off from the sport.
“Except that I have to get my wisdom teeth out soon!” says Biles with a giggle. “I’ll be stuck at home all week.”
The gymnast says her adoptive dad Ron, who will accompany her to Wednesday’s ESPYs, plans to film her post-procedure.
“Like when I’m all loopy,” she explains. “It’ll be funny, but in all seriousness I’m actually excited to get my wisdom teeth out so I can just be at home with family.”
The Kids’ Choice Sports 2017 premieres Sunday, July 16, at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT).