Simone Biles's bronze-medal finish on the balance beam at the Tokyo Games was a great moment — any Olympic moment that results in a medal would be great by definition — but it was that much more memorable due to the mental hardship she faced leading up to it. She pulled out of the team final after a disorienting and dangerous case of "the twisties" on vault interfered with her planned Amanar, and she proceeded to pull out of the all-around, vault, bars, and floor finals as well to prioritise her safety.
Was this Biles's best performance on paper? No. But it signified something greater than her and her sport. As I wrote at the time: "Biles's return is about more than just contending for — and claiming — a medal. It's about returning to a sport that has given her so much success and sorrow after a mental struggle that most of us can't begin to comprehend. . . . Great athletes win medals. True champions are brave enough to acknowledge (even accept) hardship, then, in the face of adversity, show up to support their teammates and remain vulnerable while the whole entire world is watching."