A lot has been made of gymnastics superstar Simone Biles withdrawing from several events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, Hoda Kotb, one of the main co-anchors on the NBC News morning show Today, is giving Biles her full support.
The 56-year-old talk show host recently sat down for an exclusive interview with People Magazine. There, she informed them that she is “100 percent behind” Simone Biles. As it currently stands, the star gymnast is set to compete in Tuesday’s beam final after she opted to sit out of several other events.
“Look, Simone is one of those people who has been a champion her whole life. And she’s in the middle of a moment right now,” Kotb said. “And she feels comfortable enough to get on that beam and perform.”
As for Hoda Kotb, she has been in Japan to cover the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the ground. She says that this is simply a moment that Simone Biles has to work to overcome. Biles, 24, has been dealing with air awareness issues and mental health pressures.
“This is just a moment for her to overcome something that has been scaring her. And I’m rooting for her,” Kotb explained. “I hope she gets a medal. I think that would be great. But, what I’m really rooting for is so she can overcome what’s bothering her. I think that’s an important moment for her.”
Simone Biles Experiencing Confidence Issues at 2020 Tokyo Olympics
For those who might be unfamiliar with air awareness, think of it this way: Gymnasts hone their air awareness over the course of many, many years. And by the time they reach the top of their sport — in Biles’ case the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — they have the muscle memory to complete insanely challenging jumps, flips, and other dangerous stunts. But when someone starts to lose that confidence, it can throw off their entire rhythm. It’s often referred to as the “twisties” or as getting a case of the “yips.”
But despite going through her own battles with self-confidence and mental health, Simone Biles has been there to cheer on her Olympic teammates every step of the way. Hoda Kotb, who has been doing much of the same, explained as much during her interview with People.
“Let me tell you something, Simone Biles has been present at these Olympic Games. She has been yelling and screaming for her teammates. If there was an Olympic-sized cheerleader, it’s Simone Biles. I personally have heard her in every place I’ve been in that venue. You can hear Simone. She’s the loudest person in the room, and she’s rooting her teammates on.”
Meanwhile, Kotb only had plans to stay in Tokyo for a week. But after hearing what Biles was going through, Kotb decided to extend her trip to be there for her.
“My daughter, Haley, said, ‘Is the gymnast with the booboo okay?’ That’s what she asked me because she knew that something wasn’t quite right with what happened,” Kotb explained. “And I said, ‘Well, that’s why mom’s going to stay. We want to make sure that the gymnast with the booboo’s okay. Her name’s Simone. And she’s okay. And she’s going to be okay.'”