Simone Biles Says She Wants To Focus On Her Mental Health
Gymnast Simone Biles decided to withdraw from the team event at the Olympics.
On Tuesday, Biles looked shaky in her vault routine—a rarity for her—then spoke to a team doctor and exited.
While USA Gymnastics cited a "medical issue," Simone clarified that it wasn't a physical injury. She said, “I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a back seat and work on my mindfulness.”
Simone said, "I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job, and I didn't want to risk the team a medal for 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 the competition.”
She returned a few minutes later, but only to cheer on her teammates. The team settled for a silver medal.
Simone will not compete in Thursday’s individual all-around competition. She will be evaluated daily to see if she will participate in the event finals next week.
Former Team USA gymnasts are now speaking out in support of her decision.
Aly Raisman, Biles' former teammate in the 2016 Olympics, said, "I know that all of these athletes dream of this moment for their whole entire lives, and I'm just completely devastated. I am obviously so worried and just hoping that Simone is OK.”
Aly added that she worried about the "mental impact" that the stress has had on Biles.
Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee, tweeted, "You’ve made us so proud. Proud of who you are as a person, teammate and athlete. We applaud your decision to prioritize your mental wellness over all else, and offer you the full support and resources of our Team USA community as you navigate the journey ahead.”