Following her bronze-medal showing and triumphant comeback to the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, Simone Biles revealed that her aunt passed away “unexpectedly” two days prior to her return to competition.
“I was like ‘Oh my God. This week needs to be over,'” said Biles’ coach Cecile Canqueteau-Landi on Tuesday, according to People. “I asked her what do you need and she said ‘I just need some time.’ I said, ‘You call me, text me if you need anything, I’ll be here. Whatever that is.'”
After considering her options, Biles told Landi that she would finish her Olympic week and then said, “when I get home we’ll deal with it.”
But as many know, Biles has already been dealing with a lot since arriving in Tokyo.
Before returning to compete on Tuesday, Biles pulled out of the individual all-around and the first three event finals due to a case of what she has called the “the twisties,” a disorienting phenomenon that causes a gymnast to lose awareness while airborne and can endanger their safety.
The 24-year-old has even gone so far as to refute onlookers’ criticism and expressed to fans that her “mind and body [weren’t] in sync” since the Games began.
All smiles for Biles! 😄What a showcase of perseverance and strength, closing this Olympics campaign with a bronze medal! 🙌 #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/Esivi6RRJa— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) August 3, 2021
All smiles for Biles! 😄What a showcase of perseverance and strength, closing this Olympics campaign with a bronze medal! 🙌 #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/Esivi6RRJa
When asked about the 2024 Olympics, Landi responded: “Right now, it’s too early to say after the week she’s had. I don’t think she’s ready to commit to anything. And I wouldn’t blame her.”
“She used to take one day at a time, you know, we’ve been saying that every day since we’ve been here, especially the past week. ‘One day at a time, let’s see how you feel, let’s see how you do, what do you want?'” Landi said. “It’s been mostly a partnership with her. She’s 24. She knows herself. I know her well, and that’s all we’ve been working on.”
After the balance beam final, Biles took to Instagram, posting a heartfelt image of an embrace between herself and Landi.
“Forever thankful to have such an amazing support system by my side,” she wrote.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles)
A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles)