Can you imagine, having the weight of the world on your shoulders and at the same time privately mourning the loss of a loved one on one of the biggest stages in the world?
Simone Biles shared that her aunt unexpectedly passed away while she was at the Olympic games.
You never know what someone is going through, and it’s sad she had to tell the press such a private matter.
NBC DFW reports – The gymnast, who withdrew from several Olympic events to focus on her mental health, returned to the competition on August 3, winning a bronze medal in the balance beam final.
After her third-place finish, Biles told reporters that her aunt–her father’s sister–“unexpectedly passed,” according to People.
Biles’ coach Cecile Canqueteau-Landi also confirmed the heartbreaking news. “That was another one, I was like, ‘Oh my God.
This week needs to be over,'” Landi said, via 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.’ 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.'”
Despite the family tragedy, Biles kept her head held high during the balance beam final, even concluding her performance with a double pike dismount.
In a post-event interview with Today’s Hoda Kotb, Biles reflected on her choice to temporarily step away from the competition.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, so it hurts that people were like, ‘Oh she quit or she did this’ because I’ve worked five years for that.
Why would I quit?” she said. “I’ve been through so much over the past couple years in the sport, I just don’t quit.
That’s not what I do. But the girls could see it and I knew that they would get the job done and that’s exactly what they did, so they won silver.”
“At the end of the day, we’re not just athletes or entertainment. We’re human, too, and we have real emotions,” she continued. “And sometimes, they don’t realize we have things going on behind the scenes that affect us whenever we go out and compete.”
Dang, Simone was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders and nobody knew all this! Her Aunt died during the Olympics and some folks in America called Simone a quitter!?
— Yutia McPherson (@summer_b44) August 4, 2021
Simone Biles owes us nothing. She has been an admirable ambassador for her sport – overachieving at every step and always gracious. I congratulate her on her recent win and for her decision to put her health and family front and center – as it should be ?
— Helen Stringer (@HelenStringer13) August 4, 2021
Condolences to her family.