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Simone Biles opens up about her family tragedy during the Olympics

What did the gymnast have to say? How did this affect her decision to withdraw from competition?

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Simone Biles, of the United States, at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Simone Biles, of the United States, waits to perform on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women’s apparatus final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Tokyo. Tuesday, Biles revealed that her aunt during the Games, per Fox News.

Gregory Bull, Associated Press

Simone Biles became the headline story of the Tokyo Olympics after the gymnast withdrew from multiple events due to mental health concerns, reported the Deseret News. Tuesday, Biles came back to win bronze on the beam, per The New York Post.

  • After the beam final, Biles opened up about the family tragedy she was dealing with during the Games, reported CNN.

What did Simone Biles share about her family tragedy?

Tuesday, Biles revealed that she had “unexpectedly” lost a family member earlier that week, per Fox News.

  • “Two days ago my aunt unexpectedly passed,” Biles told reporters, per CNN. “That was something I wasn’t expecting to happen at the Olympic Games.”
  • “At the end of the day, you have to be a little bit more mindful of what you say online,” she told reporters, “because you have no idea of what these athletes are going through as well as (in) their sports.”

The loss added to Biles’ mental health challenges and came as she struggled with a case of the “twisties,” per Fox News. The “twisties” are a phenomenon where gymnasts have difficulty maintaining their spatial awareness while in the air.

What did she say about her mental health?

Biles also spoke about her compounding mental health challenges and the importance of mental health for athletes, reported Fox News.

  • “The conversation of mental health,” Biles said per Fox News, “it’s something that people go through a lot that is kind of pushed under the rug.”
  • “I feel like we’re not just entertainment,” she said. “We’re humans, as well, and we have feelings. At the end of the day, people don’t understand what we are going through.”

This — combined with the “twisties” — led to Biles’ decision to withdraw from the team event and from four individual events, per CNN.

  • “My mental and physical health is above all medals that I could ever win,” Biles said per The New York Post. “It wasn’t easy pulling out of all those competitions.”

What did Biles say about her time in Tokyo?

With a seventh Olympic medal, Biles’ time in Tokyo has come to an end. The latest bronze medal and final beam competition hold special meaning for the gymnast, per Fox News.

  • ​​”It means more than all the golds because I’ve pushed through so much the last five years and the last week while I’ve even been here,” Biles said per Fox News.
  • “It was very emotional, and I’m just proud of myself and just all of these girls,” she said.

On Instagram Tuesday, the gymnast posted on her story that she was “leaving Tokyo with a full heart.”

  • “Not at all how I imagined or dreamed my second Olympics would go but blessed to represent the USA,” Biles posted on Instagram.
  • “I’ll forever cherish this unique Olympic experience. Thanks everyone for the endless love and support,” she wrote. “I’m truly grateful.”