Biles cites mental health as reason for withdrawal

Simone Biles at the Women’s qualifications for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Center in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by John Cheng)

The world’s most dominant gymnast, Simone Biles, withdrew from competition during the Tokyo Olympics.

While addressing the media about her exit during the women’s team gymnastics final, Biles broke down in tears and confirmed that her withdrawal was due to mental health concerns.

“Whenever you get in a high-stress situation you kind of freak out,” she said. “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.”

Biles then reminded everyone that competitors are “not just athletes, we’re people at the end of the day.”

Biles decision was met with praise by many, for her choice of prioritizing mental health.

“I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a back seat, work on my mindfulness,” she said.  “And I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job. And I didn’t want to risk the team a medal for kind of my screwups, because they’ve worked way too hard for that. So I just decided that those girls need to go and do the rest of our competition.

“… I took a step back, because I didn’t want to do something silly out there and get injured. So I thought it was best if these girls took over and did the rest of the job — which they absolutely did….”

The team went on to win a silver medal.

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