Simone Biles is heading home after a tumultuous run during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, which saw the athlete drop out of several events to focus on her mental health.
The star gymnast also dealt with a harsh backlash of public criticism, and a death in the family during the emotion-packed Summer Olympics.
Today host Hoda Kotb snapped a photo of the 24-year-old gymnast aboard a flight heading back to the States. “Looky looky who is on my flight... lucky me!,” Kotb captioned a socially-distanced selfie with the athlete via Instagram on Wednesday, August 4. “Welcome home @simonebiles.”
Biles ended her Olympics run on a high, after temporarily exiting the games last week to prioritize her mental well-being, she won bronze in the women’s balance beam final on Tuesday night — earning a score of 14.000.
“I was proud of myself just to go out there after what I’ve been through,” Biles spilled to reporters after coming in third place. “I’ll treasure this one a lot more after everything I have been through.”
Biles made her triumphant return after shocking everyone when she withdrew from the team final, then subsequently pulled out of individual vault, uneven bars and floor events.
The Ohio native explained she was taking time to focus on her mental health, noting she is physically OK, after her uncharacteristic vault performance, which earned a 13.766 — the lowest score of Biles' Olympics career. The four-time gold medalist explained she was not in the right "headspace" to continue after she experienced what is called the "twisties."
As OK! previously reported, Biles did a Q&A on Instagram where she explained what the "twisties" meant, saying you "cannot tell up from down. It's the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body."
All while the Olympic hero was struggling with mental health issues and the pressure of the games, she revealed that her aunt on her father’s side had tragically died two days before she took home the Bronze medal for the beam, USA Today reported.
Biles’ Bronze medal win brought her Olympic medal tally total to 7, tying her with Shannon Miller’s record for the most medals won by an American gymnast.