Simone Biles suffered a loss in the family amid the Tokyo Olympics. The 24-year-old gymnast's aunt unexpectedly died as she was in Japan for the games, coach Cecile Canqueteau-Landi, revealed Tuesday. It was an emotional and stressful Olympic experience for Biles in general as she dealt with mental health concerns that prompted her to pull out from the team finals, individual all-around, vault, uneven bars and floor competitions.
"I was like, 'Oh, my God. This week needs to be over,'" Landi told reporters on Tuesday after the beam finals, in which Biles earned a bronze medal. '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.'"
Biles' first event at the Tokyo Olympics was a vault gone wrong after she became disoriented and nearly fell completely on the dismount. She shared on Instagram Friday that she had "no idea" how she landed on her feet in general but that she was grateful she was able to save herself from possibly serious injuries. "If you look at the pictures and my eyes, you can see how confused I am as to where I am in the air," she shared on social media. "Literally can not tell up from down. It's the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body. What's even scarier is since I have no idea where I am in the air, I also have NO idea how I am going to land. Or what I am going to land on. Head/hands/feet back…."
Biles addressed critics of her decision to withdraw from the majority of the events as well. "I didn't quit; my mind and body are simply not in sync," she explained. "I don't think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health." The gold medalist added that she had "had plenty of bad performances throughout my career and finished the competition," but in this case, she had "simply got so lost my safety was at risk as well as a team medal."