After taking home the bronze medal for her balance beam performance on Tuesday (August 3), Simone Biles revealed her aunt passed away while she competed in the Tokyo Olympics.
The 24-year-old gymnastics champion shared the loss with reporters Tuesday (August 3), stating, “At the end of the day, people don’t understand what we are going through.”
“Two days ago, I woke up and my aunt unexpectedly passed, and it wasn’t any easier being here at the Olympic Games,” she said.
Biles withdrew from the all-around and individual competitions last week, citing concerns for her mental health. Later, the gymnast revealed she was battling with the “twisties” and stepped back to do some recovery.
According to Us Magazine, after learning of the loss, Biles told her coach Cecile Canqueteau-Landi, “I just need some time.” “I was like, ‘Oh, my God. This week needs to be over,’” Landi told reporters Tuesday (August 3).
“I asked [Simone] 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.’ She called her parents. She said, ‘There’s nothing I can do from over here. So I’m just going to finish my week and when I get home we’ll deal with it.”
Biles went on to return to Olympic competition, winning the bronze for her performance on the balance beam –– a historical win for the gymnastics G.O.A.T.
On Wednesday (August 4), Biles posted to her Instagram stories that she’d returned home.
Raven Saunders, shot-put silver medalist, also announced Tuesday (August 3) that her mother had died just days after witnessing her daughter compete in the Olympic games.
“My mama was a great woman and will forever live through me,” the Olympian tweeted. “I will always and forever love you.”