2020 Tokyo Olympics: Caeleb Dressel Shares His Thoughts on Simone Biles’ Decision to Withdraw

by Amy Myers

Since Simone Biles announced her withdrawal from several gymnastics events in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, many fellow athletes have voiced their opinions. Among them have been some of her teammates and even Olympic alums that either support her decision or can’t make sense of it. For the most part, those that know what it’s like to compete in the Games understood Biles’ perspective. Now, adding to the conversation, “America’s Golden Boy” Caeleb Dressel weighs in with his reaction.

When Biles decided to put a pause on competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she shared that it was because she was experiencing the twisties. Described as a condition in which your mind and body are out of sync, the gold medalist prioritized her mental and physical safety over winning medals. She stepped aside from the group competition and several individual events, allowing her teammates to take her place. As a result, Biles has received a lot of backlash for her withdrawal. Many believed it was not fair to the other women gymnasts that could have taken Biles’ place from the start.

In a conversation with TODAY host, Craig Melvin, five-time gold medalist swimmer, Caeleb Dressel, comes to the fellow Olympian’s defense.

“Every individual is different,” Dressel explained. “That’s why I’m not going to speak on anyone else’s behalf. That’s why I’m okay with the call that Simone did.”

Like many others that offered Biles support, Dressel believes that the only one that knows what’s best for her is Simone.

“No one else’s opinion matters because they’re not the one in her situation. She’s literally the best to ever do it, and everyone wants to chime in,” the athlete continued. “Just leave her alone.”

2020 Tokyo Olympics Athlete Says Talking to His ‘Big Brother’ Michael Phelps Helped with Stress

Dressel then shared his own experience with stress during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He admitted that at times, the experience could be “too much.”

“I’ve had a couple breakdowns. It does pile up,” Dressel said. Despite the stress, he added that the pressure “worth it.”

Part of the reason the 2020 Tokyo Olympics athlete is able to handle the emotional toll of the Games is that he has a shoulder to lean on–retired Olympic swimmer and eight-time gold medalist, Michael Phelps.

“I texted [Phelps] more than my wife at these Games,” Dressel admitted. He then joked, “Edit that part out.”

He continued, “I really leaned on him. And why would I not?”

Dressel shared that Phelps always kept his promise of helping fellow athletes out whenever he could. Although Phelps couldn’t celebrate his win with Dressel in person, he was always available for a call or text.

“I do see him as that big brother in this sport,” Dressel said.