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Simone Biles reveals her aunt died two days before her Olympic comeback

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Just two days before she made her triumphant return to the Olympics, Simone Biles suffered a family tragedy.

“I woke up the other day and my aunt had unexpectedly passed and I’m like, you guys have no idea what we’re going through,” the gymnast told reporters.

According to Biles, the tragedy happened after she dropped out of several events amid concerns about her health, but before she returned to win a bronze medal, making the achievement that much more impressive.

Biles’ coach, Cecile Canqueteau-Landi, confirmed the sad news.

“That was another one, I was like, ‘Oh my God. This week needs to be over,’” Ms Landi toldPeople. “She said, ‘There’s nothing I can do from over here. So I’m just going to finish my week and when I get home we’ll deal with it.’”

On Tuesday, Biles made an Olympic comeback for the ages, winning a bronze medal on the balance beam with a score of 14.00. Just days earlier, she had dropped out of several other events after experiencing a severe case of the “twisties,” a condition in which she lost her sense of direction during potentially dangerous moves.

“It wasn’t easy pulling out of those competitions, but physically and mentally I wasn’t in the right head-space and I didn’t want to jeopardise my health and my safety, because at the end of the day it’s not worth it,” Biles told reporters.

“My physical and mental health is above all medals I could win,” she went on. “To be cleared to do beam – which I didn’t think I was going to be – meant the world. Just to be back out here. I wasn’t expecting to walk away with a medal. I was out there doing this for me and whatever happens, happens.”

For Biles, the past few days have been full of extreme highs and lows.

“It’s been a long week,” she said. “At least I’ve ended it on a high and I’ll deal with everything else when I get back.”

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