Michael Phelps is showing support for Simone Biles who surprisingly withdrew from the team gymnastics competition at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. Phelps is working for NBC as an analyst and told Mike Tirico that he understands what Biles is going through. Phelps is one of the greatest Olympic champions of all time and knows how much pressure a top athlete can face in the Olympics.
"The easiest way for me to say this is athletes, and Olympic athletes in general... 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 to fix us," Phelps said, per Entertainment Tonight. "We carry a lot of weight on our shoulders, and it's challenging. Especially when we have the lights on us and all of these expectations that are being thrown on top of us."
Biles revealed the reason she pulled out of the competition is she wanted to focus on her metal health. "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 well-being. It just sucks when you're fighting with your own head." Biles also withdrew from the individual all-around finals, and it's uncertain if she will compete in the individual events next week.
"After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles was withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health," USA Gymnastics said in a statement Wednesday. "Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week's individual event finals. Jade Carey, who had the ninth-highest score in qualifications, will participate in her place in the all-around. 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."
Phelps, who won 28 Olympic medals in swimming, hopes that Biles' story helps get the conversation going on doing more for people dealing with mental health issues. "It's so important, especially to teach kids at a young age, to take control of their physical and mental health," Phelps shared. "You guys hear me talk about that so much - if we're not taking care of both, how are we ever expecting to be 100 percent?"