Simone Biles poses with her bronze medal at the award ceremony for the balance beam event of the women’s artistic gymnastics on Tuesday. Lionel Bonaventure / AFP / Getty Images
Seven-time Olympic champion Simone Biles says she didn’t expect to win a medal in Tuesday’s balance beam final.
“It’s been a very long week, a very long five years. I wasn’t expecting a medal today, I just wanted to go out and do it for myself and I did,” said Biles after she won bronze.
The 24-year-old superstar was in the spotlight for a large part of the games because he had withdrawn from other gymnastics events due to psychological concerns. For the first time, she withdrew after the jump rotation in the women’s team final last week and then also withdrew from the individual all-around, uneven bars and jumping competitions.
She burst into tears when she reached out to the media after the initial withdrawal. “Whenever you get into a very stressful situation, you somehow go nuts,” she said. “I have to focus on my mental health and not endanger my health and well-being.”
After winning the bronze on her last chance to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Biles said the medal felt more special than her balance beam bronze at the 2016 Rio Games.
“I’ll cherish it for a long time,” she said.