Simone Biles knows she has a lot of people supporting her after she withdrew from two events at the Tokyo Olympics. And because of that, the 24-year-old gymnastics superstar went to Twitter to send a message to her fans thanking them for having her back during a very difficult time.
"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," Biles wrote on Twitter. Over the last couple of days, Biles has pulled out of the women's team finals, and Team USA won the silver medal. She also decided not to compete in the individual all-around finals, in which her teammate, Suni Lee, took home the gold medal in the event. On Tuesday, Biles explained why she withdrew from the team finals.
"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 went on to say that her teammates tried to get her to reconsider, but her mind was made up. "I was like: I think the girls need to do the rest of the competition without me. They were like 'I promise you'll be fine, we watched you warm up'. But I said 'No, I know I am going to be fine but I can't risk a medal for the team and I need to call it," Biles explained. "You usually don't hear me say things like that because I usually persevere and push through things, but not to cost the team a medal."
While some people show support for Biles, there were some who didn't understand why Biles made the decision during the final. Olympic legend Michael Phelps discussed the situation on NBC and said what Biles did can help start the discussion of taking mental health seriously.
"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. "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."