Simone Biles’ time in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics has been a trying one. She withdrew from the women’s team competition due to mental health struggles and was criticized publicly and harshly for it. Biles then had a case of the “twisties,” where she would lose control of her body while performing an acrobatic move and not know how she was going to land. She recently revealed that she has also suffered a death in her family.
The 24-year-old said she suffered another blow when she learned that her paternal aunt died earlier this week.
“At the end of the day, people don’t understand what we are going through,” Biles said during a news conference. “Two days ago, I woke up and my aunt unexpectedly passed, and it wasn’t any easier being here at the Olympic Games.”
Despite the hurdles she had to overcome during the Olympics, she was re-entered the games and won a bronze medal in the balance beam finals. The win helped her secure her seventh Olympic medal.
Biles said that even though the Olympics was an emotional rollercoaster for her, the conversation that was started around mental health is important.
“Definitely bringing a light to the conversation of mental health, it’s something that people go through a lot that is kind of pushed under the rug,” she said. “I feel like we’re not just entertainment, we’re humans, as well, and we have feelings.”
Now that she is headed home, Biles shared on social media that she isn’t leaving with any regrets after going through the ups and downs of this experience.
“Not at all how I imagined or dreamed my second Olympics would go but blessed to represent the USA,” she wrote on Instagram. “I’ll forever cherish this unique Olympic experience. Thanks everyone for the endless love and support. I’m truly grateful.”
She added that “leaving Tokyo with 2 more Olympic medals to add to my collection isn’t too shabby!”