Olympic gymnast Simone Biles had a difficult time at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo — but the elite athlete finished strong with a bronze medal on the balance beam and a collective Team USA silver medal. Needless to say, she represented America in style while competing in Japan.
However, Simone ended up in fewer events than previously planned. The Ohio native unexpectedly pulled out of the team finals due to a mental health concern on July 27, following her lowest score on vault ever. She announced the next day that she would be withdrawing from the all-around competition. Two days later, the Texas resident withdrew from the vault and uneven bars finals, and early the next morning, Simone also withdrew from the floor finals.
The issue Simone was dealing with is known as the “twisties,” which is a phenomenon in which an athlete loses awareness in mid-air, making it very difficult to land safely. “Every once in a while, she would form this block, and it usually had nothing to do with the gymnastics itself,” Simone’s coach Aimee Boorman told the Today show about Simone’s mental struggle on July 29. “It had to do with other things going on in her, in her universe.”
The four-time gold medalist went on to compete on balance beam — and following her win, she revealed that her mental health was also affected by a family tragedy during the competition. “At the end of the day, people don’t understand what we are going through,” Simone said during a press conference. “Two days ago, I woke up and my aunt unexpectedly passed, and it wasn’t any easier being here at the Olympic Games.”
She reflected on her experience at the Olympics on August 4. “Not at all how I imagined or dreamed my second Olympics would go but blessed to represent the USA. I’ll forever cherish this unique Olympic experience,” Simone wrote via Instagram. “Thanks everyone for the endless love and support. I’m truly grateful. Leaving Tokyo with [two] more Olympic medals to add to my collection isn’t too shabby! Seven-time Olympic medalist.”
Luckily, the SK-II spokeswoman has a great support system at home and “counts her lucky stars that she has such a strong, loving relationship” with her parents, Ron and Nellie, an insider told Life & Style. Ron is Simone’s maternal grandfather, and he and his wife, Nellie, legally adopted Simone from mom Shanon in 2003.
The couple have “been there supporting her from the beginning,” the source gushed. “What’s so nice about Simone, is that even though she’s worked hard to get to where she is today, she’s so appreciative of everything that she’s achieved and those who love her.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see photos of everything Simone wore during the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo!
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