Simone Biles Credits Naomi Osaka For Encouraging Her To Prioritize Her Mental Health
The Olmypic champion decided to withdraw after she competed in vault on Tuesday.
July 27, 2021 at 10:29 pm
After Simone Biles withdrew from the competition at the Olympics on Tuesday in an effort to protect her mental health, she said athletes like Naomi Osaka encouraged her to speak her own truth about the “internal struggles” she’s been dealing with.
"I have to focus on my mental health,” Biles said, DailyMail UK reported. "I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now… we have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do."
Biles opted out of the finals after she competed in the vault event and faltered. USA Gymnastics previously cited Biles’ withdrawal was due to a medical issue, but Biles says otherwise.
“I feel like I’m also not having as much fun — and this Olympic Games I wanted it to be for myself and it felt like I was still doing for other people — and that hurts my heart that doing what I love has been taken away from me,” Biles said, also noting that she and her teammates are “not just athletes, we’re people at the end of the day.”
“There’s more to life than just gymnastics,” she added.
Osaka previously withdrew from the Wimbledon tournament, citing her mental health. Her decision to withdraw came just days after she opted to skip out on press conferences, as Blavity previously reported.
The tennis star said people often "have no regard for athlete’s mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one.”
Osaka subsequently received outpouring support for her decision to prioritize her mental health.
Biles, too, has been applauded for her decision. Sarah Hirshland, chief executive of U.S. Olympics & Paralympic committee, said the organization praised her "decision to prioritize your mental wellness over all else, and offer you the full support and resources of our Team USA community as you navigate the journey ahead," Reuters reported.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki sent her gratitude to Biles and said she's "still the GOAT."
Following Team USA securing their silver medals, Biles spoke with reporters alongside her teammates, giving them full credit for their new title and saying they should be “really proud of themselves.”
“I thought it was best that these girls took over the job which they absolutely did,” the four-time Olympic gold medalist said. “They are Olympic silver medalists now and they should be really proud of themselves now for how well they did last minute.”
On Monday, Biles wrote that she sometimes feels “the weight of the world on her shoulders.”
“it wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it. I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times,” she wrote. “I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The olympics is no joke! BUT I’m happy my family was able to be with me virtually. they mean the world to me!”