It’s been an exceptionally long couple of weeks for the greatest gymnast of all time, Simone Biles.
Simone Biles arrived at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics looking joyful and cheery as always. However, she shocked the entire world when she suddenly pulled out of the all-around team competitions.
She later cited the stress and the pressure that comes with being an Olympic athlete as part of the reasoning for dropping out of the event. She openly spoke out on her mental health and actively put her health before any competition.
“It wasn’t easy pulling out of all those competitions. People just thought it was easy, but I physically and mentally was not in the right head space and I didn’t want to jeopardize my health and my safety because at the end of the day, it’s not worth it,” she told reporters at the Games, according to The Guardian.
She also had what is known as the “twisties” in gymnastics. This is when mental disorientation makes a gymnast lose their spot in the air, which can be extremely dangerous. Biles also dropped out of the all-around individual competition as well as all the other individual events, except for one. She competed on the balance beam and got a bronze medal.
As it turns out, Simone Biles had a lot on her plate outside of being an athlete.
She told reporters that her aunt on her father’s side had unexpectedly passed away.
“That was another one, I was like, ‘Oh my God. This week needs to be over. I asked her what do you need. And she said, ‘I just need some time.’ I said, ‘You call me, text me if you need anything I’ll be here. Whatever that is.’ She called her parents. She said, ‘There’s nothing I can do from over here. So I’m just going to finish my week and when I get home we’ll deal with it,'” Biles’ coach Cecile Canqueteau-Landi told People.
Simone Biles 2020 Olympics Journey
Simone Biles has been the face of mental health awareness at the Games this year. Her story dominated headlines and created an open dialogue for countless other athletes to weigh in on.
She was able to compete on the beams after being evaluated by Team USA’s training staff. The beams involve far less twisting, meaning it was the safest for Biles to compete in. She told reporters that “I was just going out there doing this for me” and medaling wasn’t a concern.
Simone Biles has helped showcase that she’s a lot more than just an Olympic athlete.
“I think it should be talked about a lot more, especially with athletes, because I know some of us are going through the same things and we’re always told to push through it. But we’re all a little bit older now and we can kind of speak for ourselves. At the end of the day, we’re not just entertainment, we’re humans and there are things going on behind the scenes that we’re also trying to juggle with as well on top of sports,” Simone Biles said, according to the New York Post.