Simone Biles won a bronze medal in her last event of the 2021 Olympics. She finished with 14,000 on the balance beam to win her second Summer Games medal.
But the medal was not what worried him most about entering the final competition. All he wanted to do was avoid injury while taking the stage at the Olympics in what will likely be the last time.
“I’m going home in one piece, so I was a little nervous,” Biles said. NBC’s Mike Tirico in an interview about your efforts on the beam. “So, I am not angry. It’s not how I wanted it to be, but I think we’ve opened bigger doors and bigger conversations. “
Biles certainly opened the doors when he missed a week of the Tokyo Games while dealing with mental health issues. Specifically, she was dealing with a case of “spinning,” a mental block that gymnasts deal with that prevents them from knowing where they are while spinning in the air.
MORE: Simone Biles Explains Why She Reissued Despite The Twists
How did this problem arise? It was “completely random,” Biles said.
“I went to do a floor pass and I got lost in the air and I thought, ‘Okay, it was a fluke.’ I didn’t do more, “said Biles.” The next day we had a bit of practice before the team final and I was like, ‘Okay, well, I have to do that again because it was really weird and it seemed wrong. And then I just couldn’t get a clue of where it was in the air. “
As such, Biles felt it best for her to withdraw from the team competition until she could figure out how to fix the problem. He performed a jump in the team final before his retirement and missed the full event finals, jump, uneven bars and floor exercise.
Biles faced widespread criticism for his decision, but he knows he made the right decision. She trusted her teammates for the medal and felt it would be a detriment to the team, as well as a risk to herself, if she continued.
“Well, I knew they could get the job done and that’s exactly what I told them when they found out I was retiring for the rest of the competition,” Biles said. “I was like, ‘You guys are trained for this, you’re going to be fine without me. Get out there, do your gymnastics, and have fun. I’ll be here cheering you on. If you need anything let me know. ‘ It was difficult to see him from the bench, but I knew that it would be the best option for me and for the team if we wanted to win a medal ”.
MORE: Why Elite Gymnasts Tend To Retire At A Young Age
And Biles was not surprised by the criticism. That said, he is hopeful that his experiences may lead to greater empathy for athletes, because many have “things that [they’re] working behind the scenes. “
“I feel like it’s difficult, but it’s harder to be an athlete because everyone prays for your downfall and wants you to screw it up and all that,” Biles said. “I don’t think they take our mental health into consideration because what we do is not easy or everyone could do it. But also, at the end of the day, we are not just athletes or entertainment. We are human too and we have emotions and feelings and things that we are working on behind the scenes that we don’t tell you about. So I think it’s something that people should be more aware of. “
Biles still enjoyed the Olympics despite the scrutiny and pressure surrounding her. She wrote on Instagram that she was “truly grateful” to become a seven-time medalist in Tokyo.
“I will always cherish this unique Olympic experience. Thank you all for the endless love and support.
“I’m really grateful. Leaving Tokyo with 2 more Olympic medals to add to my collection is not bad at all! A seven-time Olympic medalist.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.