By now the world knows that Simone Biles pulled out of Tuesday’s (July 27) team finals for women’s gymnastics at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo opting instead to put her mental health first. She is now speaking out about her decision and showing support for fellow Olympian and athlete, Naomi Osaka, who made a similar choice just a few weeks ago.
According to PEOPLE, Biles told reporters about her decision to withdraw saying, "You usually don't hear me say things like that because I'll usually persevere and push through things, but not to cost the team a medal. So they were like, 'Okay, well, if Simone says this then we need to take it pretty serious.' I had the correct people around me to do that."
She continued, "Today has been really stressful. We had to work out this morning and it went okay. And then just that five-and-a-half-hour wait or something, I was just like, shaking, [and] could barely nap. I just never felt like this at this point in a competition before. And I tried to go out here and have fun and warm up in the back, feel a little bit better. But then once I came out I was like, 'No, mental is not there.' So I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself."
Biles also addressed Osaka, who opted not to participate in Wimbledon or speak to the press during the French Open as a way of better controlling her mental health, saying, "I say put mental health first because if you don't, then you're not going to enjoy your score and you're not gonna succeed as much as you want to.”
She added, "So, it's okay sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself because it shows how strong of a competitor or a person that you really are."
As a result, the United States earned the silver medal in the team competition as the Russian Olympic Committee took home the gold.
On Thursday (July 28), USA Gymnastics announced that Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition.
As for Osaka, she was eliminated from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after losing an early round match on July 27. The 23-year-old told reporters, “I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this. I think it's maybe because I haven't played in the Olympics before and for the first year [it] was a bit much. I think I'm glad with how I played, with taking that break that I had.”
(Photos from left: THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images, Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)