Story at a glance
- The news followed a turbulent week at the Olympics for Biles.
- She stepped away from several events due to mental health concerns.
- Biles was also dealing with what’s known as “the twisties,” which make it difficult for gymnasts to pinpoint themselves in the air.
U.S. gymnast Simone Biles revealed that her aunt died just two days before the gymnast made her return to Olympic competition and won a bronze medal on the balance beam.
Following Biles’ win Tuesday night, the 24-year-old gymnast told reporters her aunt on her father’s side “unexpectedly passed.”
The news followed a turbulent week at the Olympics for Biles. She stepped away from the team finals last week due to mental health concerns and subsequently pulled herself from the all-around, uneven bars, floor exercise and vault finals.
She was also dealing with what’s known as “the twisties,” which make it difficult for gymnasts to pinpoint themselves in the air.
“That was another one, I was like, ‘Oh my God. This week needs to be over,’” Biles’ coach Cecile Canqueteau-Landi said, according to People.
“I asked her what do you need. And she said, ‘I just need some time.’ I said, ‘You call me, text me if you need anything I’ll be here. Whatever that is.’ She called her parents. She said, ‘There’s nothing I can do from over here. So I’m just going to finish my week and when I get home we’ll deal with it,” Landi said.
Despite the adversity, Biles earned a score of 14.000 for her balance beam performance and finished third behind a pair of Chinese gymnasts.
The win earned Biles her seventh career Olympic medal, putting her in a tie with Shannon Miller for the most medals won by an American gymnast, according to The Associated Press.
Bile’s decision to withdraw from several Olympic events kicked off a national discussion on mental health, with many applauding Biles for prioritizing her mental well-being.
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