Simone Biles has said that winning a medal in the women's gymnastics balance beam final was not as important as her mental or physical health.
The Team USA Olympian only competed in the beam individual final, even though she qualified for all 5 apparatuses, after withdrawing last week.
Biles challenging Tokyo experience has ended with her winning a Bronze on the beam, making the USA prouder than ever of the young athlete.
The athlete competed in her 1st and only event final on Tuesday, coming 3rd with a score of 14.000. She 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, explaining that she was prioritizing her mental health as she has suddenly lost her air awareness on flips and twists.
Biles told reporters after her medal ceremony that the support of her fans meant the "world" leading up to the beam.
"I don't get why people diminish silver and bronze," Biles explained. She expressed that the 3rd place prize felt "sweeter" than her bronze in Rio for the same apparatus.
Sports psychologists have been evaluating her and cleared her for the event, which followed an unrevealed tragedy, the death of her aunt.
"We have to focus on ourselves as humans. We lost touch with our human feelings sometimes... I did this for me and me only," she explained, admitting that she would not change anything about how the Tokyo Olympics has panned out.
When she was asked whether or not she'd be competing in Paris in 2024, Biles said: "I need to process this first... it was a lot."
The iconic gymnast even spoke out about mental health at a press conference:
"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.
Biles now has 7 medals between the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. One of the medals she achieved includes a silver medal that she won in the team all-around last week.
And her teammates supported her wholeheartedly with her decision to compete on the beam, dropping out of all other finals, even when figures like Piers Morgan slated the athlete.
On Twitter, he had questioned: "Are mental health issues the go-to excuse for any poor performance in elite sport?" subsequently referring to her decision as "nonsense."
But that didn't stop Biles from holding her head high, and her team was with her every step of the way. What a sensational team to be surrounded by.
Explaining in her Instagram story last week, the athlete said that people who don't know much about the sport, referring to these people as "know it alls," who have something to say about the reasons for Biles dropping out, do not realize how dangerous the sport is when your mind does not cooperate with the physicality of your body, emphasizing that it's extremely important to put your mental health first as: "mental health is physical health."
"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."