It’s been one month since the Tokyo Olympics wrapped up in Japan and Simone Biles ran into TODAY's Hoda Kotb on her flight home to the United States.
Now, the decorated gymnast is taking a moment to reflect on Instagram about her experience at this summer’s Games and how it differed from her initial expectations.
On Saturday, Biles shared a photo of the two medals she earned in Tokyo — a silver medal from the women’s artistic team all-around and a bronze medal from the women’s balance beam final. In the caption, she addressed the criticism she received following her decision to withdraw from multiple events at the Olympics.
“can’t believe it’s already been a month,” she began the caption. “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.
“I’ve pushed through so much the past couple years , the word quitter is not in my vocabulary,” she continued.
The Olympian ended her note by celebrating her athletic achievements and responded to critics who have called her a "quitter."
“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.”
Going into the Games, which were postponed from last year due to the pandemic, Biles was leading the pack and was anticipated to break multiple records, including the American record for the most career Olympic gold medals won by a woman in any sport.
After initially citing a “medical issue,” the 24-year-old first withdrew from the team finals on July 27. The following day, the gymnast also withdrew from the individual all-around final, a decision she later explained was due in part to a “case of the twisties.” Biles ultimately withdrew from additional events, including the uneven bars, vault, and floor exercise finals.
Biles eventually returned to compete in the balance beam final, where she won a bronze medal for her performance. Despite not winning gold for the event, Biles said the medal meant more to her than any of the other medals she’s been awarded in the past few years.
"It means more than all the golds because I've pushed through so much the last five years and the last week while I've even been here," Biles told Hoda. "It was very emotional, and I'm just proud of myself and just all of these girls, as well."
Biles said she didn’t care about the outcome of her routine, adding, "I was just happy that I made the routine and that I got to compete one more time."
Biles is now a seasoned Olympian, having competed at two Games. In addition to Tokyo, she represented Team USA at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. As for whether another Olympics is in her future, Biles told Hoda before leaving Tokyo that she’s “keeping the door open.”
"I think I have to relish and take this Olympics in, and kind of recognize what I've done with my career because after 2016, I didn't get to do that," she said in early August. "Life just happens so quickly and now I have a greater appreciation for life after everything that's happened in the last five years."