‘I did it for me’: Simone Biles triumphantly takes Bronze at Tokyo Olympics
03rd Aug 2021
US gymnast Simone Biles has taken a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics – and it might be the most important win of her entire career.
Simone Biles has taken the long walk to the medal podium so many times in her career but it is hard to think of a medal that felt more just than her bronze at the Tokyo.
Last week, she said she had to walk off the mat for her mental health.
“At the end of the day we’re not just entertainment, we are humans.” @simone_biles your words are vital for everyone out there struggling with mental health. We are honored to see you shine once again. ?#StrongerTogether | @TeamUSA | @USAGym | @gymnastics | #Tokyo2020
— Olympics (@Olympics) August 3, 2021
And then, unexpectedly, she returned. Biles closed off the women’s gymnastics events in Tokyo with one of the most heartening moments of the games as she surprised even herself by winning an excellent bronze medal on the balance beam with a score of 14.000.
During her late-night press conference on Tuesday, Biles explained that she also had “twisties”, a word for a mental block in which gymnasts lose their spatial awareness in the middle of complex skills. It is a well-known, terrifying, and dangerous sensation for gymnasts. And if you’re not in the whole of your health before attempting, it’s so easy to see, when not even thinking of anything else, you’d have to walk away.
“My problem was why my body and my mind weren’t in sync. That’s what I couldn’t wrap my head around. What happened? Was I overtired? Where did the wires not connect? That’s what was really hard because it’s like, I trained my whole life, I was physically ready, I was fine and then this happens and it’s something that was so out of my control,” she said.
However, on the final day of the Games’ artistic gymnastics program, Biles made a triumphant return in the individual balance beam final, winning bronze. Complex, mesmerising and beautiful, it wasn’t gold, but she landed and it was a drastic difference from the woman we saw last week.
And this time when she touched down from the beam, she didn’t look scared. She looked like her smiling, self again. That alone was worth celebrating – regardless of the medal.
“I wasn’t expecting to walk away with a medal,” she said afterward. “I was just doing this for me, and what happens, happens.”
May we all go through life with the same vigour as Simone Biles.
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