'Brazilian boyfriend' of Simone Biles enjoys own time in Olympic spotlight

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Arthur embed
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RIO DE JANEIRO — Wednesday was a good day for Simone Biles’ “Brazilian boyfriend.” Thursday might be another one.

Arthur Nory Mariano, the local hero from Sao Paolo who has begun to make a name in the United States through his close friendship with the American superstar, did a star turn of his own here in the men’s gymnastics all-around final, finishing 17th and wowing the adoring crowd at Rio Olympic Arena.

On Thursday, he wants to be back in the same arena to see the woman he has called his “crush.”

The two met in 2013, he told Yahoo Sports after his finish on Wednesday. “Our first World Championships,” he said. “I met her. I said, ‘Simone, you’re my crush.’ ”

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They have become “really [good] friends,” since, but Mariano says they are just friends. When she arrived in Rio in late July, Biles tweeted a photo of the two hugging with the caption, “My Brazilian boyfriend.” After Biles’ sterling performance in women’s team qualification, Mariano tweeted “Queen Biles! #MyLove.”

“She’s amazing,” he said. “A very nice person. Very cool. I like her because she’s confident, good energy, very nice.”

The two text “every day,” he said, and they’ve had meals together here in the Athletes Village.

“We can see [each other] and talk a little bit,” he said.

Thursday is Biles’ turn at the women’s all-around, and she’s heavily favored to win her second gold medal so far in these Games. Mariano – who goes by Arthur Nory on social media – wants to see “one of my idols” in judo and then see Biles compete.

Mariano, who got his start in judo, has only been to America twice: once for training in 2015 and once in 2014 to see his grandmother, who lives in Miami. He’s not sure when his next trip will be.

For now, he’s becoming a star in two hemispheres. Some of the loudest cheers of the week have been for him and his Brazilian teammates.

“I’m so grateful for an experience like this,” he said. “It’s a dream come true. It’s a pleasure to be in my country so my family can be here and cheer for me.”

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