Simone Biles cheering on her teammates at the Tokyo Olympics.

Why Simone Biles’ New Bronze Medal Means So Much

What a champion!
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Simone Biles winning a bronze medal for the balance beam at the Tokyo Olympics hits hard—and I don’t mean in a bad way. Her win hits hard because it feels like Biles rising up and pushing past the adversity she has experienced. Last week, things were different for Biles. She was experiencing some mental health issues that were throwing her off. As a means of protecting herself from harm, she walked away from competing in multiple Olympic events, paving the way for others on her team to go ahead and win big.

This week, Biles came back, and she went for it. She gave it her all, proving to the world that she’s still got this. But most importantly, she proved it to herself. She said this bronze medal means more to her than all of the gold ones she’s earned in the past, because of all that she had to overcome to achieve it, according to NBC: “It means more than all the golds. I pushed through so much over the last five years and the last week while I’ve been here. It was very emotional and I’m just proud of myself and all of these girls as well.”

Biles’ win also matters to those who admire her and want to be like her. After showing her vulnerability last week at the Tokyo Olympics, there was plenty of hate going around from people who really had no business weighing in at all. But there was also a lot of love from longtime fans and new ones who saw themselves in Biles and her experience, and having that connection while the person in question is struggling mentally humanizes the athlete and allows us all to connect to her and each other, feeling a little less lonely as a result.

It’s also important to note that Biles has added to her Olympic medal collection after setting boundaries for herself. She could’ve not been true to herself when she was doing her floor routine or the vault last week. She could’ve let other people determine which direction she was going in and what event she was participating in. Leaving the stage to talk to a medical assistance and then pulling out of her events shows self awareness and a healthy set of boundaries meant to protect Biles mentally and physically, and I was proud then and still am now.

I’m not the only one who believes in Simone and her drive to overcome her mental health issues to continue being the GOAT!

(image: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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Lyra Hale
Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.