Simone Biles knew that she was spearheading the US Gymnastics team to the Tokyo Olympics- but her own mental health was a priority. Precisely why she opted out of the team final competition on Tuesday. With that, Biles acknowledged the pressure that she had been facing- to be registered as the greatest gymnast of all time.
But as a female athlete, she is also one of the foremost advocates for mental health. For someone who was still below the age of 30, such pressure could be quite detrimental. Sure, the American team would be affected by it- but is the medal worth the mental sanity of an individual?
Mental Health More Vital For Simone Biles Than Participation
In an interview with Associated Press, Simone Biles stated that every athlete needs to focus on themselves- for they are humans at the end of the day. There is no reason why an athlete shouldn’t be protecting their mind and their body, and not just listen to the whims of the world all the time.
The four-time Olympic Gold medalist stated that while she was in peak physical condition, she was not in the right state of mind to still participate in the tournament. In yet another interview with Hoda Kotb of NBC, the gymnast stated that it wasn’t exactly the easiest of jobs to be the head-star of the Olympics. Therefore, every athlete is simply taking each day as it is.
Simone Biles’ admission does put light on the hidden topic of mental health in sports. Her admission comes days after Naomi Osaka withdrew from the competition. The second-ranked player in the world opted out of both the French Open and the Wimbledon in order to prioritize her mental health.
Simone Biles admitted that the stance taken by Naomi Osaka inspired her to take her step. She would also make sure everyone knew the importance of mental health in the sporting community.