After previously withdrawing from the team all-around at the Tokyo Olympics, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles has also dropped out of the individual competition to focus on mental health.
“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health,” USA gymnastics said in a statement overnight. “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”
Biles’ decision to step away during the team competition has been arguably the biggest topic in sports over the last 24 hours or so. Not surprisingly, the fact she won’t be defending her individual all-around gold has also sparked plenty of conversation.
There have been some pundits who have admonished Biles for withdrawing, but the reaction from around the sports world has been widely positive.
I see people are still losing their s*** over Simone Biles, like she didn’t already represent this country with honor & integrity, like she owes them something, like they can possibly understand the pressure of being an Olympic athlete. Try empathy on for a change
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) July 28, 2021
BREAKING: No Simone Biles for Thursday’s individual all-around competition. Still leaving the door open for individual event finals next week.
Mental health matters. https://t.co/TUion8q2K2
— Taylor Tannebaum (@TaylorTannebaum) July 28, 2021
People didn't care about the "tough" athletes of the 80s/90s until they saw their private struggles on some 30 for 30 after their careers. Then they were sad to learn what they'd gone through. This generation of athletes is demanding we acknowledge what they're going through now.
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) July 28, 2021
A generational talent!
Too often of late we are left wanting, to admire more of these athletes in their prime.
Mental fitness is paramount in today’s life let alone sports!
Get well Simone! #Olympics #Tokyo2020 #SimoneBiles https://t.co/pv8alwy1xb
— Mitch Hallahan (@mjhallahan14) July 28, 2021
Every post about Simone Biles by someone with “skeptic” in their bio pic.twitter.com/1Dw6ESK4ja
— BUM CHILLUPS AKA SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) July 28, 2021
The anti-Simone Biles takes you are dunk-tweeting were callously customized to go viral. They're bait. You are feeding an industry of prefabricated, willfully-ignorant hate by trying to flex on them. You are letting bad actors define the conversation.
— Mike Tanier (@MikeTanier) July 28, 2021
“You are not your gift”…Just because you are an Olympic athlete does not mean that your mental health has to be compromised! These athletes are blessed with extreme gifts but that does not define them! The person they are beyond their uniform defines who they are! https://t.co/iugojBwD7Q
— Douglas Middleton (@21DM_ERA) July 28, 2021
correct me if i'm wrong–im on vacation and not paying close attention–but it seems like the only people who are mad ("mad") about simone biles are the usual cretins who need to try and score cheap culture war points in order to survive?
— Laura Wagner (@laurawags) July 28, 2021
Following Biles’ withdrawal, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team took home the silver medal. Two of her teammates–Suni Lee and Jade Carey–will be participating in the individual all-around later this week.
Hopefully they are able to seize this opportunity.