Simone Biles Wins Bronze With the Help of This Japanese University Gym

Simone Biles Wins Bronze Medal With the Help of This Japanese University Gym

The school specialises in moulding Olympians.

Simone Biles, an American gymnast, made headlines earlier in the Olympics when she peaced out from four competitions (the all-around individual competition, the vault, the uneven bars, and floor) and had to prioritise her mental well-being. She was America’s heavy favourite before she withdrew from the matches, as she had already won seven Olympic medals before Tokyo 2020. 

Despite her withdrawal and a couple of criticisms, Biles stated in an Instagram post that she didn’t quit. “For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync as you can see here. I don’t think you realise how dangerous this is on a hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health,” she said. 

True to her word, Biles didn’t quit. Unbeknownst to many, she was actually training and regaining her composure in a Japanese gym to participate in the beam finals wherein she won a bronze medal!

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A Japanese gym helps Simone Biles

According to the Wallstreet Journal, Biles contacted the Juntendo University Gym discreetly. Biles’ team reportedly called university professor Kazuhiro Aoki around 12 hours after Simone withdrew from the competition and asked if they could use the gym for a gymnast. “This is a complicated matter, but this is for Biles,” Aoki was told.

The Juntendo University gym allowed Simone to practice for four days behind locked doors. She would train for two hours trying to get her form back and she would be accompanied by her coaches and medical provider in each visit. The Japanese gym provided Simone with soft mats and foam pits. Biles also posted a series of Instagram videos of her training inside the gym. 

On her Twitter, she thanked the Juntendo University Gym and said that the Japanese were some of the kindest people she’d ever met. 

The Juntendo University gym

Juntendo University is located in Bunkyo City, Tokyo. The school specialises in medicine and offers programs on Health and Sports Science, from undergraduate to PhD degrees. What’s more, this Japanese university has actually produced eight Olympic medalists and six gold medalists, for Japan. Six out of its eight medalists were all gymnasts. 

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One of Juntendo’s biggest achievements in gymnastics was when they produced three out of the six Japanese gold medalists during the 2004 Athens Olympic Artistic Gymnastics Team Competition. No wonder Simone Biles and her team picked this school to get her back into shape!

Not all acts of kindness go unnoticed, and because this Japanese gym understood the struggles of Simone Biles, she was able to still give her country a bronze medal. Yet another inspiring story from Tokyo 2020 that we’re not in a rush to forget!

Featured image credit: Kakidai | Wikimedia Commons; Simone Biles | Official Instagram Page

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Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Therese's close friends know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she loves staying at home and spending lazy afternoons with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.


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