The 24-year-old gold medalist told reporters that her paternal aunt “unexpectedly passed” just two days prior to her competition.
An impactful tragedy has befallen Simone Biles and her family as revealed to reporters that their paternal aunt “unexpectedly passed” just two days prior to the former’s bronze medal win in the balance beam finals on Tuesday, Aug. 3. Her coach, Cecile Canqueteau-Landi, told reporters that, upon hearing the news of the passing, she thought, “Oh my god. This week needs to be over.”
“I asked her, ‘What do you need?’ And she said, ‘I just need some time,’” Canqueteau-Landi recalled.
This could’ve aided in the need for Biles to announce her withdrawal from the team finals, individual all-around competition, and every event final except the beam due to a struggle with “the twisties”.
Described as “the craziest feeling ever” by Biles, she likened the moment in the air to being unable to “tell up from down” or not knowing where she was going to land. Biles’ exit left Team USA in a vulnerable spot, as they won the silver medal in most of its competitions, and Suni Lee and MyKayla Skinner won gold and silver, in the individual all-around and vault final, respectively.
Jade Carey won gold in the floor competition.
“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,” Canqueteau-Landi shared. “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.”
“[Earning bronze] means more than all of the golds because I have pushed through so much the last five years and the last week while I’ve even been here,” Biles shared with Today’s Hoda Kotb about being proud of her accomplishments despite the odds. “I feel like it’s still kind of a whirlwind. I haven't gotten to embrace it yet, but I’m just proud I could go out there and compete one more time before the Olympics are over.”
“It was very emotional, and I’m just proud of myself and all of these girls, as well.”