By: Alyssa Wilson
After winning the Bronze in the balance beam event on Tuesday, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles revealed her aunt died two days before she competed in the event.
The 24-year-old withdrew from the all-around, vault, floor and uneven bars individual challenges last week, citing mental health concerns. She also mentioned being concerned about “the twisties,” which is a condition when gymnasts lose their sense of awareness in the air, USA Today reported.
Cecile Canqueteau-Landi, Biles’ coach, spoke to reporters and said Biles had been going through so much during the Olympics, including her aunt’s unexpected death.
“I was like, ‘Oh my god. This week needs to be over,'” Canqueteau-Landi said. “I asked (her) what do you need. And she said, ‘I just need time.'” The coach also said Biles called her parents and after determining there was nothing she could do from Tokyo, she planned to finish her time there and handle the news when she arrived home.
When she withdrew from events earlier in the games, she faced harsh criticism from some who called her an embarrassment and others who argued she should no longer be able to compete for USA Gymnastics.
Biles spoke to the media in Japan, and said people should be mindful of the things they say online because they don’t know what people are going through.
“Two days ago my aunt unexpectedly passed, and that was something I wasn’t expecting to happen at the Olympic Games either, so at the end of the day, you have to be a little more mindful of what you say online, because you have no idea of what these athletes are going through as well as (in) their sports,” she said.
Biles scored a 14.0 landing her a Bronze and seventh Olympic medal. She now matches Shannon Miller’s record for most medals won by an American gymnast.
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) August 3, 2021
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