Simone Biles made headlines after she announced she was pulling out of the Tokyo Olympics. She stated in a press conference that she didn’t want to “jeopardize her health and mental well-being.” Biles’s performance in the previous event was not her best. Afterward, she only appeared to support the rest of the team at the gymnastics event in Tokyo.
Put Mental Health First, says Biles
Simone said she didn’t want to cost her team a medal, and took a “back seat.” She revealed that her time at the Olympics had been stressful. Simone was expected to bag the USA a good few medals, given her starry career. After all, Simone Biles has won 6 Olympic medals already. Her teammates “did the job” and brought the USA a silver medal at the event.
Earlier this year, Naomi Osaka had also pulled out from the French Open, citing mental health concerns.
Biles also suffered sexual assault under previous team doctor Larry Nassar, who has since been convicted. Andrea Orris, a former gymnast, said in a detailed Instagram story, that the trauma Biles went through, is more than anyone could go through in their lives. Simone also hints at her own harrowing experience in social media, after the announcement of her exit. USA Gymnastics has also expressed its support for Simone.
Support poured in for Simone from figures like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Priyanka Chopra, and even ace swimmer and star Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. Phelps said in an NBC interview that watching Simone Biles made his heart break, and realizes the duress Biles was in.
Biles and Osaka’s decisions are worth lauding because they addressed their mental health first, irrespective of stage and people watching them. Taking a step back from daily routines or even professional life for mental wellness is still a hesitance for many. Osaka and Biles have both suffered from depression, and also heightened their careers. The two sportswomen receiving support worldwide for giving themselves time to recuperate their mental health. Supporters are also taking to social media, voicing that it’s okay to take a step back.