Simone Biles on her beam bronze: 'It means more than all the golds'

The American gymnast reflected on her Tokyo 2020 experience after earning the bronze medal in the balance beam final. Plus, see the support pouring in for Simone.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

For Simone Biles on this day, bronze felt golden.

The American gymnast competed for the first time since the team event final in artistic gymnastics at Tokyo 2020, capturing a bronze medal in the balance beam - her seventh career Olympic medal.

Gold went to GUAN Chenchen with TANG Xijing taking silver in a Chinese one-two.

"[The bronze] means more than all the golds because I've been through so much the last five years and the last week while I've even been here; it was just... it was very emotional," she said on NBC's TODAY Show. "And I'm just proud of myself and all of these girls as well."

"I didn't really care about the outcome," Biles added in regards to the beam final. "I was so happy that I made the routine and then I got to compete one more time."

Biles was also reflective as to how her actions brought light to mental health, especially for athletes:

"At the end of the day we're not just entertainment. We're humans, too. We have things going on behind the scenes. ... I had to take a step back and focus on myself." - Simone Biles

It caps off Biles' 2020 Games, in which she took a stand for mental health by stepping aside during the team final, helping to cheer her team on to silver.

She also taught plenty of us what "the twisties" are - a phenomenon well-known by gymnastics insiders.

Biles won five medals at Rio 2016, including individual all-around, team, vault and floor golds, adding the team silver and beam bronze to her haul here.

The Biles impact: A focus on mental health

While Tokyo did not go the way anyone could have predicted for Biles, she looks back at her experience as a learning one - for everyone.

What is she proud of?

"Definitely bringing a light to the conversation of mental health; it's something that people go through a lot that is kind of pushed under the rug," she told reporters after her beam event. "I feel like we're not just entertainment, we're humans, as well, and we have feelings."

"After team final, we went to the village, and honestly I expected to feel a bit embarrassed and [athletes] were coming up to me saying how much I meant to them; how much I had done for their world. That was the craziest feeling ever. In that moment, I was like, 'There's more than gymnastics and medals.'"

Having left the door open earlier this year for Paris 2024, Biles said after beam she was ready to take some time away - though she didn't rule anything out: "I just need to process this whole Olympic term first. It's been a lot. It's been a long five years."

The feeling online? It was this: "You go, Simone!"

Here's a small collection of responses, from Olympic gold medallists to well-known gymnastics personalities to... a U.S. Senator:


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