Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Simone Biles
On Friday, the decorated gymnast, 24, opened up about her Olympic memories during a Q&A with her followers on Instagram Stories.
When asked about a moment that “marked you the most in your career,” Biles replied, “2021. having the courage to take care & put myself first.”
“16 yr old simone would never,” the four-time Olympic gold medalist added.
During this year’s Summer Games, Biles removed herself from four out of five event finals due to a case of the “twisties” — a disorienting condition athletes can experience when they lose air awareness, putting them at risk for injury when they land.
The Olympian explained at the time that she withdrew from the competition to focus on her mental health, saying on social media that her “mind & body are simply not in sync.”
While recently chatting with PEOPLE in August, Biles opened up about prioritizing mental health in and out of a sports culture that has taught many to push through struggles to achieve peak performance.
“Sometimes when we speak on these things, then we become the face of it. I’m not sure if I’m completely ready for that aspect of it,” she shared.
“Over the years, obviously, since I’ve been so dominant everybody supports the gymnastics and praised me for what I’ve done in the gym and not really outside,” Biles added. “Then once I took a step back, I obviously was expecting to feel a lot of backlash and embarrassment. But it’s the complete opposite. That’s the first time I felt human. Besides Simone Biles, I was Simone, and people kind of respected that.”
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Last month, Biles reflected on her Summer Games experience, writing on her Instagram, “Definitely not the way I planned the olympics going but I wouldn’t change anything for the world 🤎.”
“I’m proud of myself and the career I’ve had thus far. This olympics doesn’t erase the past accomplishments I’ve achieved nor does it define who I am as an athlete,” she continued. “I’ve pushed through so much the past couple years, the word quitter is not in my vocabulary.”
Added Biles: “For some of you that may be how you define me but keep talking because I can’t hear you over my 7 olympic medals which tied me for the most decorated gymnast EVER as well as most decorated American gymnast 😊🤭.”