Superstar gymnast Simone Biles shocked the world on Tuesday after she announced that she would be withdrawing herself from the Women’s all-around competition. Now the 24-year-old athlete will no longer compete in the July 29 finals.
While doctors revealed that Biles’ decision to remove herself from the competition was “due to a medical issue” the world champion later told the press that it was for her “health and well-being.”
“Whenever you get in a high-stress situation, you kind of freak out,” Biles explained.
“We have to protect our body and our mind,” she added. “It just sucks when you’re fighting with your own head.”
The world-renowned gymnast said she was inspired by Naomi Osaka to make the bold decision. Osaka withdrew herself from the French Open and Wimbledon back in May after citing mental health concerns.
“I say put mental health first because if you don’t, then you’re not going to enjoy your score and you’re not gonna succeed as much as you want to,” Biles shared when asked about Osaka. “So, it’s okay sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself because it shows how strong of a competitor or a person that you really are.”
Biles revealed that she felt pressure from other people to perform well and that her joy for gymnastics felt like it had been “taken away.”
Osaka expressed similar feelings after her loss to Marketa Vondrousova on July 21. The 2nd ranked champ who made her debut at this year’s Olympics said she felt “a lot of pressure” competing on the world’s biggest athletic stage.
“I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in the Olympics before and for the first year [it] was a bit much. I think I’m glad with how I played, with taking that break that I had,” Osaka told reporters.
“I feel like my attitude wasn’t that great because I don’t really know how to cope with that pressure so that’s the best that I could have done in this situation,” she continued. “I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others.”
For the G.O.A.T, the future of her career remains uncertain. After the all-around on Thursday, the competition will take a two-day hiatus before Sunday’s vault and uneven bar events. On Monday, players are scheduled to compete during the floor exercise ahead of Tuesday’s balance beam competition. Biles is currently the first woman to qualify for all four event finals since 1992.
In a statement, the organization shared that they will continue to monitor and evaluate the gymnast to determine if she is fit to compete in next week’s games.
“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many,” the Olympics said.
A tremendous amount of support has since poured in for Biles on social media after the star, who recently won her 7th all-around title, announced her removal from the competition.
“So proud of you Simone! Keep your head up and block out all the negativity. Good luck in finals (should you decide to compete)!!!!!” wrote one fan.
“Your mental health should always be the #1 priority, proud of you Simone. Thank you for being such an amazing human being,” tweeted another.
Congrats to Simone Biles for prioritizing her mental health!
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