The Olympian shows the world athletes are still human.
Even though Simone Biles won't be competing in the all-around, the Olympic gymnast is already a winner in America's eyes. Biles tweeted Thursday night from Tokyo for the first time since withdrawing from the Olympic gymnastics team and individual all-around competition. In her tweet, she thanked everyone who supported her as they helped her see that she's more than just an athlete.
the outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before. 🤍— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 29, 2021
Biles felt the weight of the world as she walked into Tokyo's Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Tuesday. Carrying the title of "Greatest Gymnast of All Time," she had the tough act of balancing the expectations of the world with her own determination to dominate the competition. At the end of the day, she decided to make a decision that was right for her and withdrew from the team and individual all-around.
During Tuesday morning practice Biles stated that she had the "twisties," which is what happens when professional gymnasts are no longer able to do twists that they've been doing for years. She simply didn't trust her body anymore and decided to take some time to focus on her mental health.
"We also have to focus on ourselves because at the end of the day, we're human, too," Biles said. "We have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do."
USA Gymnastics announced Jade Carey, the gymnast who had the ninth-highest score in qualifications will participate in the all-around competition in Biles' place. Biles will continue to be evaluated daily to determine if she will compete in the individual event finals next week.
"Physically, I feel good," she told TODAY show's Hoda Kotb after her withdrawal from the competition. "Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star of the Olympics isn't an easy feat. So we're just trying to take it one day at a time, and we'll see."
Biles said her decision was inspired by tennis player Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from Wimbledon to focus on her mental health. Together, the two Olympians have started a global conversation about mental health and highlighted the fact that it's okay not to be okay. "Put mental health first, because if you don't, then you're not going to enjoy your sport and you're not going to succeed as much as you want to," Biles said. "So it's OK sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself, because it shows how strong of a competitor that you really are, rather than just battle through it."
Other athletes have commended Biles for her decision to put her mental health first. Former Olympian gymnast Nastia Liukin sent Biles a thank you later in a heartfelt Instagram post.
OCN wishes Simone all the best in her road to recovery. You've already won the gold in our hearts! Share your wishes for the Olympic athlete in the comments below.