In a first look exclusive to E! News, the 24-year-old superstar gymnast chatted in her Houston, Texas hometown with mom Nellie Biles following the Tokyo Games. During the interview, which is exclusively available in full on AthletaWell on Monday, Aug. 30, Simone discussed her decision to withdraw midway through the gymnastics team final to focus on her mental health and then sit out all subsequent competition until returning for the balance beam final.
"I definitely had the team in my best interest, and that's why I decided to pull out," Simone said. "I didn't want to potentially lose a medal spot for them. Because the girls were more than prepared to go in and to do their job, which they did."
According to the athlete, her mental health issues started even before she arrived in Tokyo, and she attributes a "stress factor" that built up over time before her body and my mind couldn't move forward with the competition. Despite her Tokyo struggles, Simone picked up two medals: a silver from the team final and a bronze from her beam performance.
"Even I didn't know I was going through it until it just happened," she said. "It just sucks. Like, train five years, and it doesn't go the way you wanted. But I know that I helped a lot of people and athletes speak out about mental health and saying no. Because I knew I couldn't go out there and compete. I knew I was going to get hurt."
The contestant from Dancing With the Stars season 24 told her mom that support from a few famous fans helped her to stay positive during the Olympics.
Back on July 28, Justin posted he was "so proud" of Simone for focusing on her mental health and added, "When what you normally love starts to steal your joy it's important we take a step back to evaluate why."
In her AthletaWell chat, Simone said she has appreciated all the support from fans, and she encouraged people to ask for help if they need it.
As for her current mindset, she said she is "mentally surrounding myself with the best people that I can, which is my close circle of friends, my family. Physically, obviously, I'm still working out, but I also have to fuel my body the correct way."
Simone has been keeping her fans apprised of her major life moments in the ensuing weeks since the Olympics. On Aug. 27, she celebrated her one-year dating anniversary with boyfriend Jonathan Owens, and earlier in the month, she showed off her brand new hairstyle.