June 21, 2024
Simone Biles

On Friday night, Jonathan Owens drove around Chicago, exploring the city for the first time in his life. He was in awe of its skyscrapers and bright lights all along the river.

Growing up in St. Louis, playing college football at Missouri Western State University and spending most of his professional career in Houston and Green Bay, Owens had “never been in a downtown like [Chicago] before.” His only stops in Chicago were to play against the Bears — trips that only consisted of traveling from the airport to the hotel to Soldier Field.

“It was sensory overload,” Owens said. “I’m driving and every two buildings I’m like, ‘babe look at this, look at this.’ It was a really good time and we’re excited.”

While Owens was in uncharted territory, he had an expert Chicago tourist with him leading the way — his wife, Simone Biles.

Biles, who grew up in Texas, remembers falling in love with Chicago while frequently traveling to the city for gymnastics meets in high school.

“I’m excited about Chicago because every year we used to come compete here, so it’s taking me back to when I was younger,” Biles told ChicagoBears.com. “We were always in the city. Me and my mom are big shoppers, so we would always go shop, find all the new stores and go to American Girl. So seeing and reminiscing from when I was younger was really fun.”

Owens and Biles spent the weekend together in Chicago to begin acclimating to their new home after Owens signed a two-year contract with the Bears in March.

Along with exploring downtown and discovering new food spots for date nights, Owens and Biles were further welcomed to Chicago when they attended a White Sox game Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Owens was invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch, allowing him to fulfill a lifelong dream.

“I got to throw out the first pitch and that was always something I wanted to do,” Owens said. “Being from St Louis, I thought it would be for the Cardinals. But given this opportunity, I couldn’t turn it down.”
Simone Biles

Biles anticipated Owens’ throw would look similar to rapper 50 Cent’s infamous wild first pitch at a Mets game in 2014, but she was pleasantly surprised by his accuracy.

“He kept talking about the side arm,” Biles said. “I really thought he was going to throw a ’50 Cent.’ I was so excited for that. Well, it was actually a 10, so it irritated me how good it was. It was really good. I’m proud of him.”

Since they’ve been together, Owens and Biles have supported each other’s professional sports careers. This spring and summer, Owens plans to attend every major competition Biles will compete in ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, adding: “I’m gonna be in there cheering like it’s a football game.”

In between her own training and competitions, Biles is still focused on showing up for Owens and celebrating special moments with him, like Saturday’s first pitch.

“It has meant the world to be able to support him,” Biles said. “There’s not a lot of time I get to do that because our seasons clash at one point and then it’s [his season] and then it’s [mine]. So it’s actually exciting whenever I get to come out and support [him] because these are memories that you won’t get to do forever. So every time I get to support him, any which way, I’m here.”
Simone Biles

While Biles already feels comfortable in Chicago, she has appreciated the outpouring of support since Owens signed with the Bears. She initially showed her love for the city with a series of tweets after Owens made the move during free agency.

Biles reemphasized her love of pizza, hot dogs and popcorn during their trip to the White Sox game, adding: “this is the perfect place, perfect city for me.”

“The city has embraced us, so it’s been really nice,” Biles said. “It’s been exciting to go to a different city that you’re unfamiliar with, but everybody embraces you like you’re family. That’s always nice. It just makes it easier.”

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