Simone Biles speaks out about mental health after winning bronze in balance beam at Tokyo Olympics

By Zach Harper

Congratulations to Simone Biles, who picked up her seventh career Olympic medal on Aug. 3 after winning bronze in the individual balance beam event!

The 24-year-old, who pulled out of the all-around team event and other individual gymnastics events to focus on her mental health last week, also revealed her aunt had died on Aug. 1. After she pulled out of the team competition, she and the American squad won silver.

"I don't get why people diminish silver and bronze," she told reporters after the event. This is the second time she's won bronze in the individual balance beam competition, having also picked it up at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

"I didn't expect a medal today. I just wanted to go out there for me, and that's what I did," she added.

Simone is seen during her bronze-winning balance beam set on Aug. 3. Photos: © Jamie Squire/Getty Images

"I think [mental health] 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, but we are all a little older now, and we can kind of speak for ourselves," the four-time Olympic gold medallist said.

"At the end of the day, we're not just entertainment. We're human, and there are things going on behind the scenes that we're also trying to juggle with, as well, on top of sports."

Simone received an outpouring of support from her fellow gymnasts and other Olympians following her decisions to step back from events at the Tokyo Summer Olympics and focus on her mental health. The moves came after she had a rough time on her vault routine on July 26 and 27.

"I know that all of these athletes dream of this moment for their whole entire lives, and so I'm just completely devastated," three-time Olympic gold medallist Aly Raisman told Today on July 27, saying people should remember "she's human."

"I also am just thinking about the mental impact that this has to have on Simone. It's just so much pressure, and I've been watching how much pressure has been on her in the months leading up to the Games, and it's just devastating. I feel horrible."

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, told Today he understood the amount of pressure Simone was under very well, saying what she went through "broke my heart." He also added Simone had made the right decision, and if she'd stayed in the competition she could have been injured.

"This is an opportunity for all of us to really learn more about mental health, to all help each other out," he said on July 28. "For me, I want people to be able to have somebody that can support them, who's non-judgmental and who's willing to hold space. There's a lot that we can do to help one another and we have to start. We can't brush it under the rug anymore."

Simone cheered her teammates on from the stands while she wasn't competing, and said she appreciated the amount of love and support she had received from fans and fellow Olympians.

"The outpouring of love and support I've received has made me realize I'm more than my accomplishments and gymnastics, which I've never truly believed before," she wrote on Instagram on July 30.

After her bronze, Simone said she wasn't sure she would try and compete in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, saying she needed to process the experience of the past few weeks before deciding anything.

"My mental and physical health is above all the medals I could ever win," she said at a press conference.

Simone, we're so proud of you in so many ways! Congrats on your latest medal, and thank you for putting yourself first! It is so important for people to see people like you speaking out about mental health.

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