Simone Biles on why latest medal is 'sweeter' than before

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Photo credit: Laurence Griffiths - Getty Images
Photo credit: Laurence Griffiths - Getty Images

Last week, the world watched as Team USA gymnast Simone Biles bravely withdrew from multiple Olympic events at Tokyo 2020, sharing an important message about saying 'no' to protect mental health. Yesterday we learned that after taking the time she needed to focus on her health and work out her next steps, Simone was set to compete in the balance beam final. And now, amazingly, the athlete has won a bronze medal despite the huge pressure that's been on her.

Simone claimed third place in the balance beam final with a confident-looking performance, cheered on loudly by the gymnasts and coaches in the arena. She seemed happy and relieved after cleanly executing her routine, and going by a post-event interview, it sounds like she's reflecting on a tough Olympics with positivity.

In the talk, Simone explained that after pulling out of her other events - the women’s team final and then the individual all-around, vault, bars and floor finals - she had to change the dismount of her balance beam routine to ensure she was safe to compete. She said that she was "shaking" and "so nervous" before taking to the beam but that she knew she could safely carry out her routine.

Simone explained her new bronze medal "definitely feels a little bit sweeter than 2016’s bronze medal" which she also won for the balance beam event and said it meant a lot to her that she could get on the floor and compete one last time before the games is over.

As for her next move? "It’s definitely too early to start thinking about anything," Simone said, adding that her mind was still focussed on what she'd achieved in her beam final.

Simone's newest bronze medal is added to the silver she gained in the team event earlier in the games - but perhaps even more impressive than her sporting achievements is the impact she's made by opening up about her mental health.

"I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now... we have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do," Simone said last week.

"I don't trust myself as much anymore... maybe it's getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world."

After a global outpouring of admiration and support, with people the world over praising her decision to speak about mental health, Simone said she's now viewing her self-worth differently. "[It's] made me realise I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before," she wrote on Instagram, which is brilliant to hear.

Huge congratulations to Simone, a true inspiration in many ways.

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