Simone Biles has thanked her fans for the “outpouring love and support” she has received after she pulled out of two Olympic events to focus on her mental health.
The 24-year-old gymnast dropped out of both the women’s team final and the women’s individual all-round final at Tokyo 2020 this week, and thanks to the overwhelming positive response to her decision the star has realised she is “more than my accomplishments and gymnastics”.
She wrote on Twitter: “the outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before. (sic)”
Simone – won four gold medals for team USA at the 2016 Olympics in Rio – will undergo daily evaluations to determine whether she’ll return for her remaining events next week.
USA Gymnastics said in a statement: “After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-round competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games in order to focus on her mental health.
“Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual events finals.
“Jade Carey, who has the higher score in qualifications, will participate in her place.
“We wholeheartedly support the decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her well-being.
“Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”
Simone has received support from several stars following her decision.
Former US gymnast Dominique Moceanu – who won team gold at the 1996 Games in Atlanta – wrote on Twitter: “I was 14 y/o w/ a tibial stress fracture, left alone w/ no cervical spine exam after this fall. I competed in the Olympic floor final minutes later.
@Simone_Biles decision demonstrates that we have a say in our own health- “a say” I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian. (sic)”
Former Olympian Michael Phelps said: “We’re humans, right? We’re human beings.
“Nobody is perfect so yes, it is okay to not be okay. It’s OK to go through ups and downs and emotional roller coasters.
“But I think the biggest thing is we all need to ask for help sometimes too when we go through those times.
“For me, I can say personally it was something very challenging.
“It was hard for me to ask for help. I felt like I was carrying, as Simone said, the weight of the world on [my] shoulders.
“It’s a tough situation.
“We need someone who we can trust. Somebody that can let us be ourselves and listen.
“Allow us to become vulnerable. Somebody who’s not going to try and fix us.
“We carry a lot of things, a lot of weight on our shoulders, and it’s challenging, especially when we have the lights on us and all of these expectations being thrown on top of us.”