Simone Biles Shares Sad News After Bronze Medal Win

World-renowned gymnast Simone Biles has had a difficult time at the Tokyo Olympics. The 2016 individual gold medalist had to withdraw from the gymnastic team final and the first three apparatus finals because of the strain on her mental health (via New York Post). Biles said (via The Guardian), "It wasn't easy pulling out of all those competitions." She added that she chose to prioritize herself, explaining, "People just thought it was easy, but I physically and mentally was not in the right head space and I didn't want to jeopardize my health and my safety because, at the end of the day, it's not worth it."


The star later decided to defend her bronze medal on the balance beam and walked away victorious. She explained that she was grateful to win the bronze medal. The 24-year-old said, "[It] just meant the world to be back out there. And I wasn't expecting to walk away with the medal. I was just going out there doing this for me." 

While Biles was happy with how she finished her run in Tokyo, the Olympian was also in a rush to get home.

Simone Biles' aunt died unexpectedly

After the beam finals, Simone Biles' aunt on her father's side "unexpectedly passed," the Ohio native told reporters (via People). 

Simone Biles' coach, Cecile Canqueteau-Landi, spoke to the outlet about the devastating loss. "That was another one, I was like, 'Oh my God. This week needs to be over,'" she said. She explained that Biles powered through the painful time. Landi asked the Olympian how she could help, but Biles replied she just needed time. The Team USA Gymnastics coach continued, "She called her parents. She said, 'There's nothing I can do from over here. So I'm just going to finish my week and when I get home we'll deal with it.'"


Landi also shared her perspective on Biles withdrawing from a few events to protect her mental health. She said, "I don't think I would have had the guts to say I'm not okay. I think I would have probably just crashed somewhere, and probably injured myself. I think for me, she's the first one at a meet at the biggest stage, to say 'I'm not okay.' A lot of people don't understand it, but we do." 

Despite facing many challenges in Tokyo, Biles managed to leave Japan not only as a medalist but also an inspiration to people around the globe who struggle with mental health. 

The Olympic medalist wants to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues

Although certain commentators reckon Simone Biles should've just shut up and got on with it, the Olympian hopes that by speaking up about her struggles in Tokyo, she can help end the stigma surrounding mental health issues in the athletic community. As the New York Post notes, Biles became the biggest headline out of the games although she likely didn't intend to be. On her decision to speak up, the gymnast said, "I think it should be talked about a lot more, especially with athletes, because I know some of us are going through the same things and we're always told to push through it. But we're all a little bit older now and we can kind of speak for ourselves."


She added emphatically, "At the end of the day, we're not just entertainment, we're humans and there are things going on behind the scenes that we're also trying to juggle with as well on top of sports." As NBC New York notes, Biles went on to explain that just because people assumed she wasn't really at risk — since her issue was mental rather than physical — that doesn't necessarily mean that was the case. And for everybody claiming the gymnast simply gave up, "The girls saw me in training and my coaches saw me in training, I physically couldn't do it safely."

Simone Biles' second Olympics trip was very eventful

According to CNN, the G.O.A.T. Simone Biles opened up about the loss of her beloved aunt during a press conference following her bronze medal win on Tuesday. "Two days ago my aunt unexpectedly passed, and that was something I wasn't expecting to happen at the Olympic Games either," Biles admitted, adding, "so at the end of the day, you have to be a little bit more mindful of what you say online, because you have no idea of what these athletes are going through as well as (in) their sports." The champion gymnast was clearly referring to the scathing commentary surrounding her stepping back from the games


Still, her return to the balance beam was no easy feat, with Biles noting that daily medical evaluations took place to ensure she was okay to go ahead. Likewise, a sports psychologist helped her feel "more level-headed" overall. The Olympian acknowledged that, ultimately, she didn't expect to be cleared to compete again. Despite her seemingly letting down large sections of the internet — who most likely couldn't dream of achieving anything close to what she has — Biles confirmed she was "leaving Tokyo with a full heart." 

As the celebrated athlete explained on Instagram, the experience was "Not at all how I imagined or dreamed my second Olympics would go," but regardless, she feels "blessed to represent the USA," noting, "I'll forever cherish this unique Olympic experience." 


If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.