Simone Biles' dad backs her Olympic withdrawal: 'God knows what would've happened to her'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Spring's hometown hero Simone Biles is slated to return home on Thursday after her Olympic run, and her father tells ABC13 he couldn't be more proud of his daughter.

After withdrawing from the team competition, Biles later withdrew from the rest of the remaining events, except for the balance beam, in order to focus on her mental health.

Biles' withdrawal sparked a worldwide conversation about mental health, especially for professional athletes.

Her father, Ronald Biles, told ABC13 on Wednesday that he simply wanted Biles to be safe and healthy before anything else.

WATCH: Young athletes await Simone Biles' and Jordan Chiles' homecoming
EMBED More News Videos

A legion of young athletes are eagerly awaiting hometown favorites Simone Biles and Jordan Chiles as they return from a successful run at the Summer Games.



"Initially, she wasn't sure if she would be able to compete at all," said Ronald. "So we just said, 'Hey, keep trying your best.' She tried to fight this every day in hopes of improving. We just encouraged her. We told her, 'Do what you have to do, but first of all, stay safe. Stay safe and healthy.'"

Two days before returning to the competition floor, Biles revealed to reporters that her aunt, who was Ronald's sister, suddenly died. The heartbreaking family tragedy added to the obstacles Biles faced at the Summer Games.

RELATED: Simone Biles and 'the twisties': How fear affects the mental health and physical safety of gymnasts
EMBED More News Videos

If her brain wouldn't play along with what her body knows how to do, she could be seriously injured.


"I didn't want to tell her, but my wife did," said Ronald. "She handled it OK. She handled it fairly well. She understands. It's the second sister I've lost in two years."

Biles is leaving the Summer Games as a seven-time Olympic medalist after winning bronze in the women's balance beam final.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Biles said it was not how she imagined or dreamed her second Olympics would go, but she's "blessed to represent the USA."

"She is a caring, loving person," said Ronald. "She gives a lot of herself. She's just not stuck on herself. She's open to most people."

SEE ALSO: Simone Biles wins bronze on balance beam 1 week after pulling out of some Olympic events
EMBED More News Videos

Simone Biles won bronze during the balance beam final a week after she took herself out of several competitions to focus on her mental health.



For updates on this report, follow ABC13 reporter Stefania Okolie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.