The two-part finale of the Facebook Watch docuseries “Simone vs Herself” reveals much about what went on behind the scenes – and in Simone Biles’ head – at the Tokyo Olympics. Honest and raw, the episodes prove that Biles’ greatness extends beyond her athletic accomplishments.
In part one, the GOAT admitted that her body feels as if the end of elite competition is near. Even before arriving in Tokyo, Simone Biles struggled physically in team practice and mentally with the pressure of following a tradition of U.S. women winning gold.
Part two opens on a post-Tokyo Biles, who, with two medals in hand, seems to possess a quiet, confident peace that suggests great growth and maturity. The episode dives into how the athlete who was expected to dominate walked away with only a silver and a bronze.
What Happened at the Olympics
Recalling her fateful vault in the team finals, Biles said, “I was just running and blocking and praying… I had no idea where I was. We’re not cats. We don’t have nine lives. I just felt like a flying rag doll. And it’s not a fun feeling when your body is so out of sync with your mind. It’s not only scary; it’s dangerous.” She went on to describe her experience with the twisties as a nightmare.
Speaking to the naysayers who accused her of quitting, Simone flatly stated, “That’s not it. I’ve done gymnastics on broken ribs, my two broken big toes… or shattered cause they’re not just broken, they’re shattered in pieces… kidney stones… sexual abuse… I came back to the sport. There are so many barriers that I’ve gotten past, and so to say I just had a bad turn and quit, if you look at all of those, you can see I’m not a quitter – I’m a fighter. I feel like I had a lot of courage… I gave the team the best chance at medaling.” She humbly recognized the greatness of her teammates who she rightfully called the “greatest in the world.”
Further explaining the twisties, she described how she could feel her inability to execute maneuvers while lying in bed at night. She knew it would be a two week process to undo the damage, but she only had one day.
In a filmed FaceTime conversation with her family, Biles’ frustration is evident. “You can’t neglect all of the other medals and all of the other accomplishments,” she said. However, she later stated with calm, confident resignation, “It’s… not for them to get, and it’s not for me to explain myself. And I’m not gonna regret anything in 10 years when I can still walk, have kids, be there for my family.”
She explained the rollercoaster of confusion, anxiety, and fear that came before her decision to get up and compete one more time in the balance beam final. She realized that she could do her beam routine if they changed her dismount to a double pike (which she hadn’t done since she was 12 or 13). Her coach readily agreed.
“I’m doing this for me. I don’t care if I fall five times… because this is my dream,” Biles stated. And she did it, winning bronze, which she said felt like a gold medal to her.
“The point was to go out and finish with a good performance, and that’s what she did,” her coach said, with evident pride.
Reflecting on her experience at the Olympics, Biles said that she felt as if she had grown a lot in 10 days. She also has come to the understanding that there “is more to life.” With joy, she asserted, “I’m ready to be a girlfriend. I’m ready to be a daughter. I’m ready to be a friend, a sister. I just think there’s more to look forward to.”
Every athlete, at some point, has to face life beyond competition. Some fall flat on their face, as they try to grasp at the past. Some, though, do it with grace, for they can clearly see that life has always been far more than their medals and titles. Biles, it seems, falls into the latter category.
While she suffered a great deal of disappointment, Simone Biles ultimately grew in knowledge of self and knowledge of what truly matters in life. Her conclusion “I know I’m worth more than gold” is the perfect ending to a stunning career – although, as hinted at the series’ close, this may not be the ending just yet.
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