Simone Biles Says She Learned How Courageous and Brave She Is at Tokyo Olympics

Adam WellsOctober 19, 2021

Simone Biles, of United States, performs on balance beam during women's gymnastics podium training at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 22, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Simone Biles took a valuable lesson away from her experience at the Tokyo Olympics over the summer. 

Speaking to USA Today's Nancy Armour, Biles said she learned more about herself at this year's Games than she ever knew before. 

"How courageous, how brave I am," she said. "Because I always like to fake bravery. But I really think that solidified me being brave, speaking up for myself and just putting myself first."

Biles was originally set to take part in five events in Tokyo, including the team all-around, individual all-around, vault, floor exercise and balance beam.

During the team competition, the 24-year-old withdrew after posting a 13.766 score on the balance beam because she didn't feel mentally fit to compete. 

"After the performance I did, I just didn't want to go on," she told reporters about the decision. "I have to focus on my mental health. I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now."

Biles explained that her original vault routine called for 2.5 twists, but she only made it through 1.5 because she "just got a little bit lost in the air." 

Team USA went on to win the silver medal in the event. 

Biles later withdrew from the all-around, vault and floor exercise for the same reason. The Ohio native did participate in the balance beam, winning the bronze medal. 

During the Olympics, Biles also revealed her aunt died on Aug. 1. 

One month after the Games ended, Biles was one of four Olympians who testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee about the abuse suffered at the hands of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. 

Competing in her second Olympics, Biles tied Shannon Miller for most career medals won by an American female gymnast (seven).    


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