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Simone Biles poses with her bronze medal during the podium ceremony for the artistic gymnastics women's balance beam event on Tuesday.
Simone Biles poses with her bronze medal during the podium ceremony for the artistic gymnastics women’s balance beam event on Tuesday. Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Seven-time Olympic gymnastics medalist Simone Biles says she didn’t expect to win a medal in Tuesday’s balance beam final.

“It’s been a very long week, a very long five years. I didn’t expect to medal today, I just wanted to go out and do it for me, and that’s what I did,” Biles said after she won the bronze.

The 24-year-old superstar has been in the spotlight for much of the Games for withdrawing from other gymnastics events citing mental health concerns. She first withdrew after the vault rotation in the women’s team finals last week and subsequently pulled out of the individual all-around, uneven bars and vault events as well.

She broke down in tears as she addressed the media following the first withdrawal. “Whenever you get in a high stress situation, you kind of freak out,” she said. “I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being.”

After winning the bronze in her last opportunity to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Biles said the medal felt more special than her balance beam bronze from the Rio 2016 Games.

“I will cherish it for a long time,” she said.



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