Simone Biles Says Her Bronze Medal in Beam 'Means More Than All of the Golds'
Simone Biles is nothing but proud of herself after her challenging Tokyo Olympics experience ended with a bronze medal.
The athlete competed in her first — and only — event final on Tuesday, the beam, and came in third with a score of 14.000. Biles, 24, had qualified for the individual all-around, as well as the vault, floor, uneven bars, and beam competitions, but pulled out of all the other events. She explained in interviews and on social media that she was prioritizing her mental health as she grappled with a sudden loss of her air awareness on challenging flips and twists.
Biles told reporters after her medal ceremony that the support of her fans meant the "world" leading up to the beam, and that she was nervous heading into the event but overall felt really good.
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"I don't get why people diminish silver and bronze," Biles said, adding that this third place prize felt "sweeter" than her bronze in Rio for the same apparatus.
She later added to Today's Hoda Kotb that her newly-won bronze medal "means more than all of the golds because I have pushed through so much the last five years and the last week while I've even been here."
"It was very emotional, and I'm just proud of myself and all of these girls, as well," she said.
Biles said sports psychologists have been evaluating her and cleared her for the event right before the withdrawal deadline on Monday — which followed a previously unrevealed tragedy, the death of her aunt.
Biles still said she wouldn't change anything about her Tokyo experience, and asserted, "We have to focus on ourselves as humans. We lost touch of our human feelings sometimes. ... I did this for me and me only."
Asked specifically about her plans in regard to the 2024 Summer Games in Paris, Biles said "I need to process this first ... it was a lot," adding it was "not in my mind frame."
Also at a press conference, Biles spoke about the importance of putting mental health as a priority.
"To bring up the topic of mental health, I think it 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," she 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."
Biles' teammate — individual all-around gold medal-winner Sunisa Lee — also competed in Tuesday's final, taking fifth place.
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With Tuesday's victory, Biles now has seven medals to her name between the Rio and Tokyo Games. One of those includes a silver medal that the U.S. women won in the team all-around last week, despite Biles dropping out of the event after a vault gone awry.
Amid her event exits, Biles wrote on social media that the outpouring and love and support for her taking on the role of a mental health champion "made me realize I'm more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before."
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.