Simone Biles‘ Tokyo Olympics journey had been a stressful one, which saw the champion withdraw from a number of finals, including women’s team final, individual all-around, vault, bars and floor. However, in the only event that she did participate in, the balance beam, not only did her win gain her a bronze medal, but it brought the 24-year-old athlete one step closer to being the most decorated gymnast in American history.
Early Tuesday morning, on Aug. 3, the Ohio native, who, from early predictions, would have brought home four if not five medals, snatched the bronze award for her routine on the balance beam — her second medal in the Tokyo Games after receiving a silver medal in the team all-around final. Biles dropped out several meets, including floor exercise and uneven bars, after experiencing the “twisties” during an attempt at an Amanar vault. Nevertheless, the win brought the World Champion her seventh Olympic medal, tying her with Shannon Miller, who won her seventh and last medal at the 1996 summer Olympic games in Atlanta, Georgia.
Following her remarkable performance, Biles appeared on “TODAY” to discuss Team USA’s presentation in Tokyo and the topic of mental health that became a highlight of this year’s events. As previously reported, Biles opened up about her health, telling reporters that the “pressures” of the games had gotten to her. But, she noted, “Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time, and we’ll see.”
Securing an award was a refreshing finish to a turbulent week. However, Biles told the outlet that “It means more than all the golds.” She continued, “I pushed through so much over the last five years and the last week while I’ve been here. It was very emotional, and I’m just proud of myself and all of these girls as well.” The star added, “I didn’t really care about the outcome. I was just happy that I made the routine and that I got to compete one more time.”
Much outcry was made following the star’s decision to withdraw from particular events. Biles revealed the big misconception about the move was that “mental health isn’t a serious issue, that it was basically a cop out.” Biles told NBC News that she had to be medically cleared, undergo medical evaluations and meet with sports psychologists before competing.
Though she hasn’t fully embraced the career achievement, Biles says she’s “just proud I could go out there and compete one more time before the Olympics was over.”