US gymnast Simone Biles has revealed that her aunt “unexpectedly” died during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Following her bronze medal win on the balance beam on Tuesday, Biles – arguably the greatest gymnast of all time – told the media about the loss her family suffered while she was in Japan.
“Two days ago my aunt unexpectedly passed, and that was something I wasn’t expecting to happen at the Olympic Games either, so at the end of the day, you have to be a little bit more mindful of what you say online, because you have no idea of what these athletes are going through as well as (in) their sports,” Biles said.
Biles didn’t compete in four individual finals at the Tokyo Olympics – the all-around individual competition, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise – after withdrawing during the women’s team final, citing mental health concerns.
She did return for the balance beam final, in which she claimed her second bronze medal in the discipline after her bronze at the 2016 Rio Games.
“Every day I had to be medically evaluated by the doctors, and then I had two sessions with a sports psychologist which kind of helped keep me more level-headed,” said Biles, regarding preparations for the beam final.
“I was cleared to do beam, which I honestly didn’t think I’d be cleared to do last night.”
Meanwhile in an Instagram post, the 24-year-old Biles said she is “leaving Tokyo with a full heart.”
“Not at all how I imagined or dreamed my second Olympics would go but blessed to represent the USA,” wrote Biles. “I’ll forever cherish this unique Olympic experience. thanks everyone for the endless love and support. I’m truly grateful.”
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Her silver medal in the team event and bronze in the balance beam means Biles has now won seven Olympic medals in her career.
She also added: “Leaving Tokyo with 2 more Olympic medals to add to my collection isn’t too shabby!”