After a bizarre performance on the vault, gymnast Simone Biles said she wouldn’t continue to participate in the finals citing mental health issues as the reason.
“Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,” a statement read. “She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”
This statement baffled many as physically Biles seemed fine but now it has come to light that she is struggling with her mental health.
“Physically I feel good, I’m in shape,” she told NBC. “Emotionally… that kind of varies on the time and the moment.”
She apologised to her teammates saying,
“I’m sorry. I love you guys, but you’re gonna be just fine. You guys have trained your whole entire life for this, it’s fine. I’ve been to an Olympics, I’ll be fine. This is your first – you go out there and kick ass, okay?”
Biles former teammate, Aly Raisman, was incredibly sympathetic. She told People that she was “proud” that Biles was focusing on her mental health.
Raisman elaborated, “You know, I felt like I had a lot of pressure and that was nothing compared to what Simone has on her right now. Simone has more pressure than any other gymnast I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. And it’s a lot. And I think that it’s a bigger conversation of, you know, there needs to be better systems out there to support the mental health of athletes and to help athletes navigate how much pressure they’re under.”
“I think it’s really brave of her to vulnerably share that the reason why she didn’t finish the competition, I think it takes so much courage to do that,” added Raisman.
Biles remaining teammates still managed to achieve silver medals despite losing one of their best.