Simone Biles praised for prioritising her mental health after withdrawing from Olympic events
28 July 2021, 17:39 | Updated: 28 July 2021, 17:53
Simone Biles will no longer compete in the Individual All-Around final at the Tokyo Olympics.
Yesterday (July 27), the 24-year-old US Gymnastics hero, Olympian, and World Champion withdrew from the Women's Artistic Gymnastics Team event, citing the need to focus on her own mental health and protect "her body and mind." Team USA ended up winning the silver medal in the event.
Today (July 28), it’s been confirmed that Biles has now also withdrawn from the Individual All-Around event, ahead of the final that she had already qualified for. It's not yet been confirmed if she will still compete in her individual events. In a statement, USA Gymnastics said: “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”
While fans all over the world are devastated to see Biles step away from the All-Around events, millions of people have showered the athlete with support and praise for putting her own mental health ahead of winning medals.
Earlier this week, Biles told her Instagram followers that she was feeling the “weight of the world” on her shoulders after Team USA came in second in the qualifying stage: “It wasn't an easy day or my best but I got through it. I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times.
"I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn't affect me but damn sometimes it's hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke!”
Simone Biles pulled out of the women’s gymnastics team final earlier. "I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a backseat, work on my mindfulness and I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job and I didn't want to risk the team a medal," she said pic.twitter.com/o9uhkg1EPu— TIME (@TIME) July 27, 2021
Celebrities, fellow athletes and people from all around the world sent messages of support to Biles on social media following the announcement of her decision to withdraw. Michelle Obama wrote: "Am I good enough? Yes, I am. The mantra I practice daily. @Simone_Biles, we are proud of you and we are rooting for you."
Another Twitter user wrote: "All of the hate that @Simone_Biles is getting just shows that we have a long way to go in reducing the stigma of mental health. Had she broke her leg none of y’all would be saying anything."
Others also praised Biles alongside 23-year-old Tennis player Naomi Osaka. In May, Osaka withdrew from the French Open due to the effect that speaking to the press has on her mental health.
I can't imagine the pressure Simone has been feeling. Sending her SO much love. It easy to forget she's still human. WE LOVE YOU.— Adam Rippon (@AdamRippon) July 27, 2021
Just a friendly reminder: Olympic athletes are human & they’re doing the best they can. It’s REALLY hard to peak at the right moment & do the routine of your life under such pressure. Really hard.— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) July 26, 2021
Someone said it best. @Simone_Biles already won. She is a class act. Withdrew from team competion after vault... stayed and cheered on her teammates... got them chalk for their hands.. encouraged.. hugged them. She already won. Congrats on the silver medal! @TeamUSA @USAGym— Hoda Kotb (@hodakotb) July 27, 2021
Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka don't owe you anything. Read that again.— Ahmed Ali (@MrAhmednurAli) July 27, 2021
.@Simone_Biles drew a boundary for herself and her health on the world stage. This is real superhuman strength, setting an example for all of us.— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) July 27, 2021
All of the hate that @Simone_Biles is getting just shows that we have a long way to go in reducing the stigma of mental health. Had she broke her leg none of y’all would be saying anything. #SimoneBiles is the goat put respect on her name— Michelle plummer (@michelleplummer) July 27, 2021
I stand with Simone Biles.— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) July 27, 2021
I still stand with Naomi Osaka.
Your health and peace matters. You’re reminding Black women that we can take the space we need for ourselves.
From a gymnast friend regarding Simone Biles 🐐❤️ pic.twitter.com/4eWPIgi4yf— Brandon Marino (@TheBatMarino) July 27, 2021