Simone Biles Draws Massive Support After Withdrawing From Olympics for Her Mental Health

Simone Biles Competing

Photo: hukovsky

Leading up to the summer Olympics in Tokyo, the energy around Simone Biles’ gymnastic performances was palpable. People couldn’t wait to watch her epic routines. And as an athlete who tends to win everything she does, it was widely speculated that she’d come out on top in all of her events. So, it came as a shock when Biles announced that she had withdrawn from the women’s gymnastics team final on day four of the Tokyo Olympics. (It's unclear if she'll perform in upcoming individual events.)

In an official statement from USA Gymnastics, the organization confirmed that Biles was out “due to a medical issue.” But in subsequent messaging from Biles and those close to her suggested that the reason for the decision may be mental health.

“It’s like fighting all those demons and coming out here. I have to put my pride aside. I have to do it for the team,” she said. “And then at the end of the day, it’s like ‘you know what, I have to do what is right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and my well-being.”

The U.S. team ended up winning the silver medal as one of Biles’ teammates took the place for her in the event. But it’s clear that Biles is the real winner here; prioritizing your mental health is just as important as physical health, and so often we look to athletes to push through everything to win. That, however, is unhealthy and unsustainable—something that Biles recognizes. She, like Naomi Osaka, is setting a great example for young people in sports who may feel pressure to compete at any cost.

“I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now,” Biles said, “…we have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.”

As Biles is speaking out, she has the support of people around the world. Celebrities with huge platforms are congratulating her for putting her mental health first and in turn, signaling to others that it’s okay, too.

Olympian—and arguably the greatest athlete of all time—Simone Biles decided to withdraw from the women’s gymnastics team final at Tokyo to preserve her mental health.


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A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles)

She was met with overwhelming support from celebrities praising her decision and strength.

Simone Biles: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
h/t: [BuzzFeed]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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