Simone Biles Reveals Family Tragedy She Dealt With Amid Olympic Turmoil

NBC Sports

It’s safe to say that Simone Biles didn’t expect her 2020 Olympic experience to go the way it did. When she experienced the “twisties” on the vault, she ended up pulling out of the team final before pulling out of individual finals as well. Nobody was sure if she would compete at all during the Olympics. Biles didn’t even know.

Every day, Biles was evaluated by medical professionals to decide if it was safe for her to compete or not. Even though she wasn’t physically injured, she wasn’t cleared to compete. She couldn’t get over the “twisties” which is what gymnasts call it when they feel like they’re lost in the air. This can be very dangerous since a gymnast experiencing the twisties may not land correctly and could end up with a serious injury.

As if dealing with the twisities wasn’t enough, Biles also had a family tragedy to deal with. Her aunt passed away while she was in Tokyo. Biles’ coach, Cecile Canqueteau-Landi, told reporters, “That was another one, I was like, ‘Oh my God. This week needs to be over.” She added, “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.'”

Thankfully, Biles was able to overcome the twisties and focus despite the death of her aunt. She ended up competing on balance beam and winning bronze.

After the Olympics, Biles will return home to her family. She has been Facetiming with them every day, but with the time change, it has been difficult.