Simone Biles, the most decorated American gymnast of all time, just made history again in her valiant return to competition at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021.
The 24-year-old athletic savant, whom many sports pundits call the greatest ever in her sport, made a grand splash after being temporarily debilitated by overwhelming mental exhaustion and anxiety last week.
Biles decided she had regained her emotional equilibrium sufficiently enough to compete in the balance beam exercises, her final chance to get earn a medal in her Olympic career. Biles said in 2020 that she would have retired already from the Olympic competition had the Tokyo games not been delayed a year due to the pandemic.
Biles took home the bronze medal, which ties her with icon Shannon Miller with the most Olympic medals in the history of American gymnastics with seven.
The Columbus, Ohio, native said this latest feat means more than all of the others she has earned because of the impediments she had to vault over.
“It means more than all of the golds,” the 24-year-old said, according to NBC, “because I’ve pushed through so much the last five years and the last week while I’ve even been here.”
Biles said knows she made the right decision to take a reprieve.
“My mental and physical health is above all medals that I could ever win,” Biles said, referencing how she was widely vilified the day she pulled out of the team exercises last week.
“So to be clear, to do beam, which I didn’t think I was going to be, just meant the world to be back out there. And I wasn’t expecting to walk away with the medal. I was just going out there doing this for me.”