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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  February 14, 2021 7:00pm-8:01pm PST

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>> the solarwinds hack is the largest and most sophisticated cyber attack the world has ever seen. "60 minutes" has been looking into it for months, and found the attack is far from over. wow. so unless you get rid of all the computers and all the computer networks, you will not be sure that you have gotten this out of the systems? >> you will not be. ( ticking ) >> bill gates has spent billions of dollars on some of the world's most complex problems. now he's working on the problem
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he considers humanity's most daunting-- climate change. >> it'll be the most amazing thing mankind has ever done. >> that's what it has to be? >> yeah. it's an all-out effort, you know, like a world war, but it's us against greenhouse gases. ( ticking ) >> simone biles was expected to be the star of the olympics last summer. then covid hit. the games were postponed. biles was crushed. >> i just sat there and i was like, i really don't know how i'm going to do this. like, another year out? it's like, how do you push back for another year? >> we were with her in the fall, as she got back to the grind. biles was working on something that turned our heads, something that seemed to defy gravity and good sense. >> oh my gosh! ( ticking ) ( ticking ) >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm sharyn alfonsi. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories and more, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking )
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man: i fefeel free toto bare my s . ask k your dermamatologist a t skskyrizi. >> bill whitaker: president biden inherited a lot of intractable problems, but perhaps none is as disruptive as the cyber war between the united states and russia simmering largely under the radar. last march, with the coronavirus spreading uncontrollably across the united states, russian cyber soldiers released their own contagion by sabotaging a tiny piece of computer code buried in a popular piece of software called "solarwinds."
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the hidden virus spread to 18,000 government and private computer networks by way of one of those software updates we all take for granted. the attack was unprecedented in audacity and scope. russian spies went rummaging through the digital files of the u.s. departments of justice, state, treasury, energy, and commerce and for nine months had unfettered access to top level communications, court documents, even nuclear secrets. and by all accounts, it's still going on. >> brad smith: i think from a software engineering perspective, it's probably fair to say that this is the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen. >> whitaker: brad smith is president of microsoft. he learned about the hack after the presidential election this past november. by that time, the stealthy intruders had spread throughout the tech giants' computer
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network, and stolen some of its proprietary source code used to build its software products. momore alarmining? hohow the hackckers got inin-- - backing g on a piecece of third- partrty softwarere used to c co, manage a and monitoror computerr netwtworks. what makes this so momentous? >> smith: one of the really disconcerting aspects of this attack was the widespread and indiscriminate nature of it. what this attacker did was identify network management software from a company called solarwinds. they installed malware into an update for a solarwinds product. when that update went out to 18,000 organizations around the world, so did this malware. >> the orion platform is the underlying foundation... >> whihitaker: solarwinds orions one of the most ubiquitous software products you probably never heard of, but to thousands of i.t. departments worldwide,
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it's indispensble. it's made up of millions of lines of computer code. 4,032 of them were clandestinely re-written and distributed to customers in a routine update, opening up a secret backdoor to the 18,000 infected networks. microsoft has assigned 500 engineers to dig in to the attack. one compared it to a rembrandt painting-- the closer they looked, the more details emerged. >> smith: when we analyzed everything that we saw at microsoft, we asked ourselves how many engineers have probably worked on these attacks. and the answer we came to was, well, certainly more than 1,000. >> whitaker: you guys are microsoft. how did microsoft miss this? >> smith: i think that when you look at the sophistication of this attacker, there's an asymmetric advantage for somebody playing offense.
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>> whitaker: is it still going on? >> smith: almost certainly, these attacks are continuing. >> whitaker: the world still might not know about the hack if not for fireeye, a $3.5 billion cybersecurity company run by kevin mandia, a former air force intelligence officer. >> kevin mandia: i can tell you this-- if we didn't do investigations for a living, we wouldn't have found this. it takes a very special skill- set to reverse-engineer a whole platform that's written by bad guys to never be found. >> whitaker: fireeye's core mission is to hunt, find, and expel cyber intruders from the computer networks of their clients, mostly governments and major companies. but fireeye used solarwinds software, which turned the cyber hunter into the prey. this past november, one alert fireeye employee noticed something amiss. >> mandia: just like everybody working from home, we have two- factor authentication. a code pops up on our phone. we have to type in that code,
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and then we can log in. a fireeye employee was logging in, but the difference was our security staff looked at the login and we noticed that individual had two phones registered to their name. so our security employee called that person up and we asked, "hey, did you actually register a second device on our network?" and our employee said, "no, it wasn't, it wasn't me." >> whitaker: suspicious, fireeye turned its gaze inward, and saw intruders impersonating its employees snooping around inside their network, stealing fireeye's proprietary tools to test its clients' defenses and intelligence reports on active cyber threats. the hackers left no evidence of how they broke in- no phishing expeditions, no malware. so how did you trace this back to solarwinds software? >> mandia: it was not easy. we took a lot of people and said, "turn every rock over. look in every machine and find
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any trace of suspicious activity." what kept coming back was the earliest evidence of compromise is the solarwinds system. we finally decided, tear the thing apart. >> whitaker: they discovered the malware inside solarwinds, and on december 13, informed the world of the brazen attack. much of the damage had already been done. the u.s. justice department acknowledged the russians spent months inside their computers accessing email traffic, but the department won't tell us exactly what was taken. it's the same at treasury, commerce, the n.i.h., energy, even the agency that protects and transports our nuclear arsenal. the hackers also hit the biggest names in high tech. so, what does that target list tell you? >> smith: i think this target list tells us that this is clearly a foreign intelligence agency.
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it exposes the secrets potentially of the united states and other governments, as well as private companies. i don't think anyone knows for certain how all of this information will be used. but we do know this: it is in the wrong hands. >> whitaker: and microsoft's brad smith told us it's almost certain the hackers created additional backdoors and spread to other networks. the revelation this past december came at a fraught time in the u.s. president trump was disputing the election, and tweeted china might be responsible for the hack. within hours he was contradicted by his own secretary of state and attorney general. they blamed russia. the department of homeland security, f.b.i. and intelligence agencies concurred. the prime suspect: the s.v.r, one of several russian spy agencies the u.s. labels" advanced persistent threats."
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russia denies it was involved. >> smith: i do think this was an act of recklessness. the world runs on software. it runs on information technology. but it can't run with confidence if major governments are disrupting and attacking the software supply chain in this way. >> whitaker: that almost sounds like you think that they went in to foment chaos? >> smith: what we are seeing is the first use of this supply chain disruption tactic against the united states. but it's not the first time we've witnessed it. the russian government really developed this tactic in ukraine. >> whitaker: for years the russians have tested their cyber weapons on ukraine. notpetya, a 2017 attack by the g.r.u., russia's military spy agency, used the same tactics as the solarwinds attack, sabotaging a widely-used piece of software to break into thousands of ukraine's networks.
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but instead of spying, it ordered devices to self- destruct. >> smith: it literally damaged more than 10% of that nation's computers in a single day. the television stations couldn't produce their shows because they relied on computers. automated teller machines stopped working. grocery stores couldn't take a credit card. now, what we saw with this attack was something that was more targeted, but it just shows how if you engage in this kind of tactic, you can unleash an enormous amount of damage and havoc. >> whitaker: it's hard to downplay the severity of this. >> chris inglis: it is hard to downplay the severity of this. because it's only a stone's throw from a computer network attack. >> whitaker: chris inglis spent 28 years commanding the nation's best cyber warriors at the national security agency-- seven as its deputy director-- and now sits on the cyberspace solarium commission, created by congress
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to come up with new ideas to defend our digital domain. why didn't the government detect this? >> inglis: the government is not looking on private sector networks. it doesn't surveil private sector networks. that's a responsibility that's given over to the private sector. fireeye found it on theirs; many others did not. the government did not find it on their network, so that's a disappointment. >> whitaker: disappointment is an understatement. the department of homeland security spent billions on a program called "einstein" to detect cyber attacks on government agencies. the russians outsmarted it. they circumvented the n.s.a., which gathers intelligence overseas, but is prohibited from surveilling u.s. computer networks. so the russians launched their attacks from servers set up anonymously in the united states. this hack happened on american soil. it went through networks based in the united states. are our defense capabilities
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constrained? >> inglis: u.s. intelligence community, u.s. department of defense, can suggest what the intentions of other nations are based upon what they learn in their rightful work overseas. but they can't turn around and focus their unblinking eye on the domestic infrastructure. that winds up making it more difficult for us. >> whitaker: he says history shows that once inside a network, the russians are a stubborn adversary. >> inglis: it's hard to kind of get something like this completely out of the system. and they certainly don't understand all the places that it's gone to, all of the manifestations of where this virus, where this software still lives. and that's going to take some time. and the only way you'll have absolute confidence that you've gotten rid of it is to get rid of the hardware, to get rid of the systems. >> whitaker: wow. so unless you get rid of all the computers and all the computer networks, you will not be sure that you have gotten this out of the systems. >> inglis: you will not be. >> jon miller: we've never been left with a breach like that before, where we know months
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into it ththat we're o only loog at the t tip of the e iceberg. >> whitataker: it's s not everyy you meet s someone whoho builds cybeber weapons s as complexex s those deplployed by rurussian intelligigence, but t jon mille, who starteted off as a a hackerd now ruruns a compapany calledd boldldend, desigigns and selells cutting-ededge cyber w weapons o u.s. i intelligencnce agenciese. >> miller: i build things much more sophisticated than this. what's impressive is the scope of it. this is a watershed-style attack. i would never do something like this. it creates too much damage. >> whitaker: miller says with the solarwinds attack, russia has demonstrated that none of the software we take for granted is truly safe, including the apps on our telephones, laptops, and tablets. these days, he says, any device can by sabotaged. >> miller: when you buy something from a tech company, a new phone or a laptop, you trust
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that that is secure when they give it to you. and what they've shown us in this attack is that is not the case. they have the ability to compromise those supply chains and manipulate whatever they want. whether it's financial data, source code, the functionality of these products. they can take control. >> whitaker: so, for instance, they could destroy all the computers on a network? >> miller: oh, easily. the malware that they deployed off of solarwinds, it didn't have the functionality in it to do that. but to do that is trivial. couple dozen lines of code. >> whitaker: and there're still some companies that don't yet know they were breached? >> miller: it's still ongoing. new companies are getting breached. we'll see new companies breached today that weren't breached this morning. where it's different in a lot of ways is normally when you catch someone in the act, they stop. that's not the case with this breach.
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>> anderson cooper: bill gates helped usher in the digital revolution at microsoft, and has spent the decades since exploring-- and investing in-- innovative solutions to some of the world's toughest problems: global poverty, disease, and the coronavirus pandemic, which he's spent nearly $2 billion on. now, he is focusing on climate change, agreeing with the overwhelming majority of scientists who warn of a looming climate disaster. the good news is, gates believes it's possible to prevent a catastrophic rise in temperatures. the bad news? he says in the next 30 years, we need scientific breakthroughs, technological innovations and global cooperation on a scale the world has never seen. you believe this is the toughest challenge humanity has ever
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faced? >> bill gates: absolutely. the amount of change, new ideas. it's way greater than the pandemic. and it needs a level of cooperation that would be unprecedented. >> cooper: that doesn't sound feasible-- >> gates: no, it's not easy. but hey, we have 30 years-- >> cooper: it sounds impossible. >> gates: we have more educated people than ever. we have a generation that's speaking out on this topic. and, you know, i got to participate in the miracle of the personal computer and the internet. and so, yes, i have a bias to believe innovation can do these things. >> cooper: he is talking about innovations in every aspect of modern life-- manufacturining, agagriculture,e, transportrtati, because nenearly everyrything ww do releases earth-warming greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. he took us to his favorite burger joint in seattle to explain. you're talking about changing everything in the economy.
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i mean, every aspect of it-- >> gates: in the phy-- yeah, the physical economy-- >> cooper: so, of what we can see right now, of us sitting around here, what specifically would be impacted? >> gates: well, this cement would be made in a different way. the steel in the building would be different. you know, the meat in the burgers a big deal. these-- you know, all this plastic and paper. potatoes. >> cooper: with potatoes, you're talking about fertilizer, the irrigation system that's used. >> gates: all the tractors, the transport. >> cooper: the trucks that bring them to this restaurant. all that has to change? >> gates: hey, when you're going to zero, you don't get to skip anything. >> cooper: gates says going to zero means eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions, or else. if they wait 100 years to do this... >> gates: it's way too late. then the natural ecosystems will have failed. the instability, you know, the migration. you know, those things will-- will get really, really bad well
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before the end of the century. >> cooper: when you talk about migration, you're talking about hundreds of thousands of people trying to move from north africa to europe every year? >> gates: exactly. the syrian war was a 20th of what climate migration will look like. so, the deaths per year are way, ten times greater than-- than what we've experienced in the pandemic. >> cooper: in a new book "how to avoid a climate disaster," gates outlines all the solutions he believes we need. he says the u.s. has to lead the world getting to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. he supports president biden's decision to rejoin the paris climate agreement, but is asking the administration to massively increase the budget for climate and clean energy research to $35 billion a year. you've said that governments need to do the hard stuff, but not just go after the low- hanging fruit. what-- what's low-hanging fruit? >> gates: passenger cars, part of the electric generation with renewables. the things everybody knows
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about, that's getting almost all the money, not the hard parts, which is the industrial piece, including the steel and cement. those pieces we've hardly started to work on. >> cooper: no one thinks much about cement and steel, but making it accounts for 16% of all carbon dioxide emissions. and the demand is only growing. the world will add an estimated 2.5 trillion square feet of buildings by 2060. that's the equivalent of putting up another new york city every month for the next 40 years. so one innovative company gates has been pouring money into is carboncure. they inject captured carbon dioxide into concrete. >> gates: what they do is they stick co2 in here in the cement, and they mix them up. and so, you're able to actually get rid of some co2 by sticking it in the cement. right now, they get rid of about 5%. but they have a next generation that can get to 30%. >> cooper: the carbon has been
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just injected into this, so it's captured it. so, it's not going to be released into the atmosphere. >> gates: that's right. >> cooper: gates has already invested $2 billion of his own money on new green technologies, and plans to spend several billion more. in 2016, he also recruited jeff bezos, mike bloomberg and nearly two dozen other wealthy investors to back a billion- dollar fund called "breakthrough energy ventures," making long term, often risky investments in promising technologies. >> gates: it kind of blows my mind. you know, what's the cost of making that stuff? >> cooper: gates regularly consults with the fund's team of top scientists and entrepreneurs, who've so far invested in 50 companies with cutting-edge ideas to reduce carbon emissions. what's like, the most far-flung idea you've backed? >> gates: there's one that's so crazy, it's even hard to describe. >> cooper: wait a minute, it's so crazy it's hard to describe? >> gates: even f-- yeah. >> cooper: how do you pitch that to investors? >> gates: well, they find geological formations, and they just pump water down into them.
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the energy they've used to pump it in, then they can draw that energy back out. so it's-- it's a water pressure storage thing, which, you know, when i first saw it i thought, "that can't work." but-- >> cooper: but you gave money to it? >> gates: yeah, lots of money. >> cooper: because cows account for around 4% of all greenhouse gases, gates has invested in two companies making plant-based meat substitutes, impossible foods and beyond meat. but farming the vegetables used to make many meat alternatives emits gases as well, so gates is also backing a company that's created an entirely new food source. >> gates: this company, nature's fynd, is using fungis. and then they turn them into sausage and yogurt. pretty amazing. >> cooper: when you say fungi, do you mean like mushroom or a microbe? >> gates: it's a microbe. >> cooper: the microbe was discovered in the ground in a geyser in yellowstone national park. without soil or fertilizer, it
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can be grown to produce this nutritional protein, that can then be turned into a variety of foods with a small carbon footprint. >> gates: this is the yogurt. >> cooper: oh, this is good. >> gates: wow. >> cooper: i've had, like, cashew yogurt or oat yogurt. it's-- it's sort of along those lines. >> gates: yeah, with the burgers, they're, you know, like beyond and impossible, they're getting close to the real thing, but you can still tell. these, i'm not sure i could've tell-- now i'm-- i'm more of a burger expert than i am-- than a yogurt expert. >> cooper: gates never planned to focus on climate change, but while working in africa with the foundation he started with his wife melinda in 2000, he came to see just how vulnerable those in developing countries are to the effects of rising temperatures. so 15 years ago, gates started educating himself on climate change, bringing scientists and engineers to his office in seattle for what he calls" learning sessions." he also reads voraciously, books and binders full of scientific research. >> gates: yeah, so this is the
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most recent one, which is about clean hydrogen. >> cooper: so you're reading thousands of pages every few days on topics? >> gates: yeah. my reading is-- is key. and then, asking questions when it doesn't make sense. >> cooper: gates isn't just looking to cut future carbon emissions. he is also investing in direct air capture, an experimental process to remove existing co2 from the atmosphere. some companies are now using these giant fans to capture c02 directly out of the air. gates has become onef the world's largest funders of this kind of technology. but of all his green investments, gates has spent the most time and money pursuing a breakthrough in nuclear energy, arguing it's key to a zero carbon future. he says he's a big believer in wind and solar, and thinks it can one day provide up to 80% of the country's electricity. but gates insists, unless we discover an effective way to store and ship wind and solar energy, nuclear power will
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likely have to do the rest. energy from nuclear plants can be stored so it's available when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing. were you always a big proponent of nuclear? in 2008, he founded terrapower, a company that's has re-designed a nuclear reactor. this is your prototype? >> gates: exactly. terrapower's natrium reactor. this is a rendering, we haven't built it yet. but here's the nuclear island right here. >> cooper: this is the reactor? >> gates: exactly. >> cooper: gates says terrapower's reactor is less expensive to build, produces less waste and is fully automated, reducing the potential for human error. gates and director of engineering lindsey boles showed us what they say is another key to its safety. >> cooper: what is it that we're looking at here? >> lindsey boles: so these individual fuel pins are actually where the uranium fuel is. and that's what generates all the heat in our natrium reactor. >> cooper: this is what everybody is worried about? >> boles: yes, exactly. >> gates: in a normal reacr,
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it's water that's flowing past and heating up. and it'll boil and-- and generate a lot of high pressure. >> cooper: that high heat and pressure can cause an explosion, like in chernobyl in 1986, when radioactive material was spread for thousands of miles. but gates says the terrapower reactor won't use water to cool down the fuel rods. they plan to use liquid sodium. >> gates: the liquid sodium can absorb a lot more heat. and so we-- we don't have any high pressure inside the reactor. >> cooper: in october, the department of energy awarded terrapower $80 million to build one of the first advanced nuclear reactors in the u.s. >> gates: nuclear power can be done in a way that none of those failures of the past would recur, because just the physics of how it's built. i admit, convincing people of that will be almost as hard as actually building it. but since it may be necessary to avoid climate change, we
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shouldn't give up. >> cooper: you've been criticized for being a technocrat, saying technology is the only solution for-- for tackling climate change. there are other people that say, "look, the solutions are already there. it's just government policy is what really needs to be focused on." >> gates: i wish that was true. i wish all this funding of these companies wasn't necessary at all. without innovation, we will not solve climate change. we won't even come close. >> cooper: gates credits young activists for keeping climate change in the headlines. but he knows some consider him an imperfect ally. >> cooper: are you the right messenger on this? because you fly private planes a lot. and you're creating a lot of greenhouse gases yourself. >> gates: yeah. i probably have one of the highest greenhouse gas footprints of anyone on the planet. you know, my-- my-- >> cooper: it's kind of ironic. >> gates: --personal flying alone is gigantic. now, i'm spending quite a bit to
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buy aviation fuel that was made with plants. you know, i switched to an electric car. i use solar panels. i'm paying a company that actually, at a very high price, can pull a bit of carbon out of the air and stick it underground. and so i'm offsetting my personal emissions. >> cooper: those are called carbon offsets? >> gates: right. so you know, it's costing like $400 a ton. it's like $7 million. >> cooper: so you're paying $7 million a year to offset your carbon footprint? >> gates: yup. >> cooper: he's encouraging others who can afford it to buy carbon offsets and green products so that what he calls" the green premium," the added production cost for reducing carbon emissions, will go down and quality of products up, driving the innovations that may get us to zero. it just seems overwhelming if every aspect of our daily life has to change. >> gtes: it can seem overwhelming. >> cooper: but you are optimistic? >> gates: yeah.
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there are days when it looks very hard. if people think it's easy, they're wrong. if people think it's impossible, they're wrong. >> cooper: it's possible. >> gates: it's possible. but it'll be the most amazing thing mankind has ever done. >> cooper: that's what it has to be? >> gates: yeah. it's an all-out effort, you know, like a world war, but it's us against greenhouse gases. ( ticking ) >> bill gates advice on how to combat mistrust in science. at spsponsored byby pfizer. at spsponsored byby pfizer. ( titicking )) oioid arthrititis. when consisidering anonother treaeatment, asksk about xelelj. a pipill for adudults with modererate toto severe rhrheumatoid a arts whwhen methotrtrexate has not hehelped enougugh. xeljanz z can help r relieve joint painin and d swelling, , stiffness, anand helps ststop furtrther joint t damage, even withohout methotrtrexat. xeljljanz can lolower your a ay to fight i infections.s.
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the 7pm news, weeknights on kpix 5. ( ticking ) >> sharyn alfonsi: simone biles is one of the most dominant athletes in the world.
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if that sounds like hyperbole, just listen to this: she hasn't lost a gymnastics all-around competition in eight years, and in a sport where the top contenders are usually separated by mere decimal points, she wins by whole numbers. she also owns the most olympic and world championship gold medals combined of any gymnast in history. biles had hoped to crown her career with more olympic golds last summer and then retire. but when the pandemic postponed the tokyo olympics until this july, biles reluctantly decided to train for another year. if, like most americans, you only watch gymnastics once every four years during the olympics, here's a glimpse of what you've missed. at the 2019 world championships in germany... four foot eight simone biles stretched the laws of physics.
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>> simone biles: i thought i had already maxed out on all the events. so to see what i could do kind of blew my mind. >> alfonsi: do you still surprise yourself? >> biles: yeah. sometimes, i still surprise myself. >> alfonsi: like, "i just did that?" >> biles: yes, all the time. >> alfonsi: biles has made a career out of surprising people. she was the first woman to do this move on the floor... this on the vault... and this on the beam. all of these moves are now named after r her, last t march, shehs ready to p push the spsport even further.r. asas the tokyoyo olympicss apprproached, a dococumentary tm from facacebook follllowed bileo says she w was at her r peak and betterer than everer. she was expected to be the star of the olympics, then, covid hit. the games were postponed. biles says she was crushed. >> biles: i just sat there and i was like, 'i really don't know how i'm going to do this. like, another year out? i don't think it's possible for me at this point mentally.'
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>> alfonsi: not physically, but mentally? >> biles: yes. pushing through those trainings when i had in my mind, "in three months i'll be done," it's, like how do you push back for another year? >> alfonsi: her 50,000-square foot gym in texas shut down. biles said she became depressed, slept constantly and wanted to quit. >> biles: we ended up taking seven weeks off. >> alfonsi: had you ever had seven weeks off since you were a little girl? >> biles: no, never in my life. >> alfonsi: how did you change your mind? >> biles: it took a little bit of time. but then i talked to my coaches and cecile especially was like," you know what, simone? you've trained so hard for this. why would you give it up?" and i'm, like, "yeah, you're right. like i didn't come this far to only come this far." >> alfonsi: we were with her in the fall, as she got back to the grind. by committing to 6:00 a.m. wakeup calls to start six hours of training, six days a week, biles knew she was taking a risk, there is no guarantee the olympics will take place this summer, tokyo is under a state
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ofof emergencycy and hostiting 0 athleteses from 200 countries ia pandemic is daunting. then there's biles's age, female gymnasts typically peak as teenagers, biles is 23, the way she bounds into the air and pounds onto the mat, the threat of an injury is always lurking, as you are back in the gym, pushing it every day, do you worry about your physical health? >> biles: sometimes i do but i just know that i need to do more therapy and take better care of my body, just because i'm older. >> alfonsi: cause you're the ripe age of 23? >> biles: yes. ( laughs ) >> alfonsi: which in a gymnast is, like, what? like? >> biles: ancient. ( laugh ) it's pretty old. >> alfonsi: what do you do to get ready to train twice a day? >> biles: get up, go, roll out, stretch before we stretch, because i'm that old. ( laughs ) >> alfonsi: wait, you stretch before you stretch. >> biles: yeah, i have to stretch before i stretch. >> alfonsi: simone biles could win at this summer's olympics if she relied on her old skills, but she has other plans, that
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seem to defy gravity and good sense. >> oh my gosh. >> alfonsi: at her gym, we found biles working on something that turned our heads-- it's called a yurchenko double pike, difficult name, difficult move >> laurent landi: it's very, very challenging. and what's scary, it's that people can get hurt, you know? you do a short landing, you can hurt your ankles, and then, you know, it's-- it's a very dangerous vault. >> alfonsi: biles's new coaches, the french husband and wife team of laurent and cecile landi, say biles could be the first woman to attempt this double pike in competition. only men have landed it. how do you make the decision not to just play it safe? >> laurent landi: i think it will become very, very boring for everybody. >> cecile landi: i think she's opened the eyes to everybody that this can be done, when i think a lot of people believed that a female could not do it. >> alfonsi: the landis say biles is built perfectly for the sport.
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first, she has explosive speed. there is so much power in her run she can fit in more skills and pile up more points. launching herself twice the height of her frame, it looks like a blur. but slow down the video and you can appreciate the control: one... two... three twists with a double backflip. and her coaches say she was born with another skill that's hard to teach: air awareness. >> biles: air awareness is knowing where you are in the air. most of the time, honestly, i think my eyes go shut. >> alfonsi: oh really? >> biles: it just feels like the room is spinning. like, if you take a globe and you spin it, it goes so fast you can't really see, and that's how it feels. but i don't crash much, or like ever. >> alfonsi: no one ever dreamed biles would reach such great heights when she was a small child in columbus, ohio, living with a single mother who was struggling with addiction. >> biles: i remember we didn't really have a lot of food. we were always hungry. and we went to, like, my uncle
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danny's house. and they gave us cereal. but we didn't have any milk, couldn't afford milk. so we just put water in it. and he was like, 'look, it's the same thing.' and we were like, 'nope, it's not, but okay nice try.' >> alfonsi: social services took simone and her siblings away from their mother and placed them in foster care, simone's maternal grandfather ron biles and his wife nellie were living outside houston at the time, >> ron biles: i got a call from the social worker, said the kids were in foster care. i wasn't aware that it was that bad. i mean, just the thought of them being in foster care it just sounded so bad, and at that time we had the ability to take care of them. so, 'send them to me.' >> alfonsi: simone and her sister adria were eventually adopted by their grandpa ron and grandma nellie. >> biles: they were like, 'you guys can call us mom and dad if you want.' and i remember going upstairs and practicing. and then ran down and i was like, 'mom? dad?' >> alfonsi: i mean, you hit the
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lottery with these two, right? >> biles: yeah, i did. i'm, i was very blessed. >> alfonsi: seeing simone somersaulting around their living room, her new parents put her in gymnastics out of self preservation. simone was tiny and a little wobbly at first, but she was fearless. by the time she was 16, she won the all-around title at her first world championships in 2013. she hasn't lost since. biles also brought a love of fun to u.s. gymnastics. ...but for years, her big personality didn't mesh with legendary but austere olympic coach martha karolyi. once a month, biles had to go to a national training camp at the karolyi ranch, a secluded compound north of houston, where martha demanded obedience, >> alfonsi: you said she wasn't a fan of you being simone. >> biles: yeah. she was not a fan of me just being myself. because she had never dealt with somebody that didn't listen to her straight off the bat. and that kind of...
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>> alfonsi: were you the problem child? >> biles: i guess so. i definitely opened a lot of other athletes' eyes. and while we were there they realized, like, they can talk on the side. we can laugh. we can enjoy gymnastics and be good at it. because i think that was the misconception, was you couldn't be fun, have a personality, and be good. you could only be good and that's it. >> alfonsi: biles did something unthinkable in women's gymnastics. in a sport obsessed with weight, she posted photos of herself with food, during training camps at the karolyi ranch, eating was monitored and rationed. >> biles: granted, now, i feel like we can't really get in trouble for this. but, like, there would have been nights where we would, like break into the cafeteria and go get food. >> alfonsi: because you were hungry. >> biles: i've never told that to anybody, like, on film or anything. but there would be nights where we're, like, running with our hoodie up, and we would break into the cafeteria to eat. >> alfonsi: what does that tell you-- now you're an adult and you can look at that. what does that say to you?
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>> biles: it's not the right training. >> biles! >> alfonsi: biles did go on to win four gold medals under karolyi at the 2016 rio olympics. >> usa! usa! >> alfonsi: ...but while biles was taking a victory lap around america, the indianapolis star newspaper exposed the darkest secret in gymnastics. dr. larry nassar, the longtime u.s.a. gymnastics physician, was accused of sexually abusing gymnasts, some of them at the karolyi ranch, initially, biles remained silent, even with her mother, nellie. >> nellie biles: i would ask her explicitly about touching and inappropriate touching. and if that ever happened to her. she would deny it. and then she would want to leave the room. >> alfonsi: the stuff with larry nasser, your mom has said, you didn't want to talk about it at home. >> biles: oh my god, no. >> alfonsi: why not? >> biles: because it was so hard for me to even say it out loud, that i knew how hard, like, it crushed me.
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it would crush my parents. and i didn't want them to feel the same pain that i felt. because it was very dark times. >> alfonsi: two of simone's olympic teammates were among the dozens of women who publicly disclosed that nassar had abused them. in january 2018, on the eve of nassar's sentencing hearing, biles was ready to admit she too had been a victim. >> nellie biles: she was crying. and she said, 'mom, i have to talk to you.' and i know simone well, and i knew... ( tears ) ...i knew what the conversation was going to be. we just cried and cried. and she didn't say anything. we just cried because i knew. >> alfonsi: that was the moment. >> nellie biles: i knew that was the moment. >> alfonsi: simone sent out a tweet revealing that nassar had abused her. three days later, u.s.a. gymnastics shut down the karolyi ranch. martha and bela karolyi maintain they didn't know about the
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abuse. larry nassar was sentenced to as many as 175 years in prison a lot of people see larry nassar's been sentenced, and think this is over? >> biles: oh, it's far from over. there's still a lot of questions that still need to be answered. >> alfonsi: what questions do you want answered? >> biles: just who knew what, when? you guys have failed so many athletes. and most of us underage. you guys don't think that's a bigger problem? like, if that were me and i knew something i'd want it resolved immediately. >> alfonsi: biles believes there has been little accountability at u.s.a. gymnastics, and the u.s. olympic committee and wants an independent investigation into what happened. you've said that they failed so many young women. do you feel like they failed you as well? >> biles: 100%. we bring them medals. we do our part. you can't do your part in return? it's just, like, it's sickening. >> alfonsi: the way that u.s.a. gymnastics is right now, if you had a daughter in a couple of years, would you want her to be part of that system?
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>> biles: no. because i don't feel comfortable enough, because they haven't taken accountability for their actions and what they've done. and they haven't ensured us that it's never going to happen again. >> alfonsi: in a statement to "60 minutes," the new president and ceo of u.s.a. gymnastics said: "we recognize how deeply we have broken the trust of our athletes and community, and are working hard to build that trust back." as the tokyo olympics draw closer, no one may be working harder than simone biles. she's the only athlete affected by the scandal who is still active, she's carrying american gymnastics on her sculpted shoulders, but this time she told us, she's competing for herself. >> alfonsi: talk to anybody in the sport, nobody agrees on anything, but they all agree you're the greatest. >> biles: ( laughs ) >> alfonsi: greatest that's ever been, greatest that will be. so why go back and put yourself through all this agony again for another year? >> biles: because i had fun. but now i'm having a lot of fun. ( laughs ) so i feel like i want to see how
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much i'm capable of. and people always question, like, 'if you're so good and you're so ahead of the game, why do you keep upgrading?' and it's like, because it's for me. >> alfonsi: and because you can! ( laughs ) >> biles: yeah, and, and i can. ( laughs ) ( ticking ) >> cbs sports is presented by progressive insurance at the att proam, berger took the title. jordan spieth finished in a tie for third n. college basketball, the university of michigan came back from 14 down to win on the road at wisconsin. this is ji jim ♪
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