After withdrawing from the Olympic competition amid mental health concerns, Simone Biles was set to be back on the balance beam Tuesday, Aug 3rd. She won a bronze medal for that event and says the bronze on beam means more to her than all four golds.
Explaining her reasons for pulling out of the competition, she says: “it was not a cop-out! I was getting lost in the air”. She also reveals that her medal win came two days after the death of her aunt.
The 24-year-old gymnast competed in the final and won bronze in Tokyo on Tuesday. Her appearance was the first since her controversial decision to withdraw from the team final, the uneven bars, vault, and floor exercise.
In a conference she held, Biles struck out at critics. She has been accused of “quitting”, as well as “abandoning” her team. Biles said emphatically that people have “no idea what she and her fellow gymnasts are going through”.
Biles revealed that she learned of her aunt’s “unexpected” death just two days before competing. Biles also revealed she was suffering from the “twisties” which is a mental block that can cause a gymnast to feel she is “lost in the air”. This can obviously cause serious injury.
Biles says that she was only “cleared” by sports psychologists to compete in the final on Monday, August 2nd. The psychologists had the responsibility of determining whether or not she was mentally fit to compete following her struggle with the “twisties”.
Their grandparents raised Biles and her sister after being taken away from their mother due to drug and alcohol addiction. Her deceased aunt was the sister of the gymnast’s father, Ronald Biles. Her cause of death has not been revealed.