Simone Biles Reveals Her Aunt Died During Tokyo Olympics
After an incredible comeback on Tuesday (August 3), Simone Biles revealed that her aunt passed away just two days before her competing in the balance beam event.
Biles, 24, now a seven time Olympic medalist, withdrew from four individual finals – all-around, vault, floor, and uneven bars – last week, citing mental health concerns and a condition called “the twisties” where gymnasts lose their sense of awareness in the air.
Biles’ coach Cecile Cantqueteau-Landi spoke with reporters on Tuesday about what Biles had been going through during the games, including the death in her family.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God. This week needs to be over,” the coach said to the press, according to USA Today. “I asked (Biles) what do you need. And she said, ‘I just need time.’ I said, ‘You call me, text me if you need anything I’ll be here. Whatever it is.’ She called her parents. She said, ‘There is nothing I can do from over here. So I’m just going to finish my week and when I get home we’ll deal with it.’”
Even with all the personal and athletic issues Biles faced, she was still able to produce a score of 14.00 in her return to competition, earning her a bronze medal. It now puts her at seven Olympic medals, which matches Shannon Miller’s record for the most medals won by an American gymnast.