Simone Biles, the unquestionable G.O.A.T. gymnast, returned from a mental leave of absence and won the bronze medal on the individual balance beam competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
“It’s been a very long week, it’s been a very long five years,” she said afterward, according to NBC News. “I didn’t expect a medal today. I just wanted to go out there and do this for me, and that’s exactly what I did.” So what was her secret to overcoming “the twisties“? The answer is Juntendo, a Japanese university that allowed her solo access to its gym, and she showered the school with love on social media.
“I’ll forever be thankful for Junetendo for allowing me to come train separately to try to get my skills back,” Biles tweeted. “The [J]apanese are some of, if not the sweetest people I’ve ever met.” She spent days there, regaining her composure and working out alone since pulling out of competition.
“People have to realize that, at the end of the day, we’re humans; we’re not just entertainment,” she continued. “There are things going on behind the scenes that people have no idea about.”
Although her tour of this year’s Olympics is complete, Biles told NBC’s Hoda Kotb that she has not ruled a return for the 2024 Paris Games. She would be 27 years old then, a tad more advanced than when most elite gymnasts retire. But as her triumphant career has shown, you can never count out the G.O.A.T.