In addition to experiencing the disorientating "twisties," Biles was in mourning.
As critics like Piers Morgan used their platforms to condemn Simone Biles for opting out of four Olympic events, it was recently revealed that the champion's aunt died while she was in Tokyo. Biles has been at the top of her game for years and was a frontrunner for the Tokyo Olympics, so it came as a shock when she decided not to compete in several finals for mental health reasons.
Millions of Americans took to social media to vocalize their support through the difficult time, and while most didn't understand the reasoning why Biles pulled back, her coach recently gave insight. Biles jumped back into the competition for the beam final where she earned the U.S. a bronze medal.
"We've had a lot of tears combined because as much as we're happy for Team USA, in the back, it was a little heartbreaking to know that she could've been out there and she could've, hopefully, earned some medals as well," Biles' coach Cecile Canqueteau-Landi said. "But, she was the best cheerleader. She wanted to be here, she wasn't forced. That was her own will to be here and she was really proud of all of them."
Biles revealed that during the Olympics, she learned that her aunt had "unexpectedly passed" away. Landi said she asked Biles "what do you need," and the award-winning gymnast requested "some time." This came after Biles complained of feeling the "twisties," a condition that causes disorientation for gymnasts in mid-air. It can cause great injury as athletes with "twisties" often don't know where they are during flips, resulting in dangerous landings.
"I don't think I would have had the guts to say I'm not okay," said Landi. "I think I would have probably just crashed somewhere, and probably injured myself. I think for me, she's the first one at a meet at the biggest stage, to say 'I'm not okay.' A lot of people don't understand it, but we do."