Simone Biles Withdraws From Olympics Final Due to Mental Health Issues
Photo Credit: Gregory Bull/AP/Shutterstock
Gymnast Simone Biles sent shockwaves around the world when she withdrew from the women’s team gymnastics final and later revealed she did so due to mental health concerns.
The 24-year-old said in an Instagram post on Sunday that she'd been feeling "the weight of the world on my shoulders" and despite efforts to "brush it off and make it seem like the pressure doesn't affect me," she emphasized the Olympics are "no joke."
On Tuesday, the official USA Gymnastics Twitter account tweeted a statement regarding Biles' withdrawal and said she'd be doing so "due to a medical issue."
"She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions," read the statement.
Biles also revealed that she wanted to compete at the Olympic Games "for myself," but "felt like I was still doing it for other people."
“So that just, like, hurts my heart because doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me to please other people," she said.
Biles spoke out again on Instagram on Tuesday, praising her teammates for their silver medals.
"I’m SO proud of these girls right here. You girls are incredibly brave & talented! I’ll forever be inspired by your determination to not give up and to fight through adversity! They stepped up when I couldn’t. thanks for being there for me and having my back! forever love y’all," she wrote.
Since Biles opened up about her mental health struggles, many fans and celebrities have shown their support for the athlete.
"God bless the great Simone Biles," tweeted TV host Joy Reid.
"She is a hero and always will be," said actress Rosanna Arquette.
Later that day, when Team USA won the silver medal in the final, Biles told reporters: “Whenever you get in a high stress situation you kind of freak out. I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and wellbeing."
“We have to protect our body and our mind. It just sucks when you’re fighting with your own head," she said, adding that she and her teammates are "not just athletes, we’re people at the end of the day."
This post is part of a series covering the talented female athletes competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Stay up to date on their latest achievements and watch them go for gold here.