Simone Biles returned to action in the Tokyo Olympics Tuesday morning and won a bronze medal for the balance beam competition. It was the only event Biles competed in as she was dealing with mental health concerns. After the event, Biles spoke to reporters and revealed why she decided to return.
"It wasn't easy pulling out of all those competitions," Biles said after clinching bronze, per The Guardian. "People just thought it was easy, but I physically and mentally was not in the right head space and I didn't want to jeopardize my health and my safety because at the end of the day, it's not worth it. My mental and physical health is above all medals that I could ever win. So to be clear, to do beam, which I didn't think I was going to be, just meant the world to be back out there. And I wasn't expecting to walk away with the medal. I was just going out there doing this for me."
“At the end of the day we’re not just entertainment, we are humans.” @simone_biles your words are vital for everyone out there struggling with mental health. We are honored to see you shine once again. 🤍#StrongerTogether | @TeamUSA | @USAGym | @gymnastics | #Tokyo2020— Olympics (@Olympics) August 3, 2021
Biles first withdrew from the team event last week, which then led to her not competing in the individual all-around event as well as her remaining individual events except for the balance beam. She leaves the Olympics with two medals and now has seven in her career.
"I think it should be talked about a lot more, especially with athletes, because I know some of us are going through the same things and we're always told to push through it," she said. "But we're all a little bit older now and we can kind of speak for ourselves. At the end of the day, we're not just entertainment, we're humans and there are things going on behind the scenes that we're also trying to juggle with as well on top of sports."
Biles is tied with Shannon Miller for the most Olympic medals by a US Gymnast. She has received her share of criticism for not competing in nearly all of her events, but there's no denying what Biles has done in and outside of gymnastics.