During an Ask Me Anything via her Instagram Story on Friday, October 16, a fan asked, “What Olympic moment has marked you the most in your career?”
“2021,” Simone, 24, responded. “Having the courage to take care [of] & put myself first. 16 year old Simone would never.”
The Ohio native gushed about her growth, which helped her to prioritize herself and her mental health while in Tokyo for the Olympics as part of Team U.S.A.’s gymnastics. As Life & Style previously reported, Simone started off strong but had a shakyon July 27, after which she took a step back from the competition.
“Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement at the time. “She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”
It was later revealed that the gymnast was suffering from the “twisties,” which is when an athlete loses awareness while they are in mid-air, usually , which makes it incredibly difficult to land safely, Simone’s coach, Aimee Boorman, told .
After getting backlash from trolls online, Simone addressed the haters via her Instagram Story. “For anyone saying I quit. I didn’t quit, my mind [and] body are simply not in sync as you can see here,” the Texas resident wrote on July 29. “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.”
Simone went on toas well as the floor finals. She made her big comeback to the competition for balance beam on August 3, and took home the bronze medal. Despite her withdrawals, she is tied for the most decorated gymnast of all time.
Right after completing the balance beam competition, Simone took to Instagram to share a message following her 2021 Olympic journey. “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,” she wrote. “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.”