Simone Biles is going through a lot right now, but an unexpected situation ended up turning into a much-needed personal breakthrough.
Source: Jamie Squire / Getty
After unexpectedly withdrawing from Tokyo 2020 Olympic events in an effort to prioritize her mental health, Biles is thanking r fans for their “love and support” as she welcomes an outpouring of praise and well wishes from people all around the world.
At just 24 years old, Simone is already considered one of the greatest gymnasts of all time–but earlier this week, she withdrew from Thursday’s individual all-around competition after stepping away from a dramatic team competition a few days prior.
While early reports pointed to an “apparent injury” as the reason for her pulling out, Biles later cited mental heath concerns and emphasized the need to protect “her body and mind.”
There were some people who felt the need to criticize Simone for “quitting,” but a much more important majority immediately sent love her way, understanding just how much pressure has been put on Biles for years. In a tweet published on Wednesday, the GOAT addressed the outpouring of support she has received from fans this week and even said it has shown her that she is “more” than gymnastics and her Olympic accomplishments.
“The outpouring love and support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before,” Biles tweeted along with a heart emoji.
In a statement on Wednesday, USA Gymnastics said that it “wholeheartedly” supports Simone in her decision and applauded her “bravery.”
“Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many,” USA Gymnastics said on July 28.
Simone Biles has won every individual all-around competition that she has entered since 2013 and won four gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Of course, she was the favorite to win gold in the final this time around, too, but on Tuesday, while attempting an advanced vault that involves a back handspring with two-and-a-half twists in the air before landing, Biles didn’t quite execute, leaving the mat almost in tears.
On Instagram earlier in the week, Simone admitted that she felt “the weight of the world on [her] shoulders at times.”
“I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha!” she wrote in the post.
It’s sad this is what it took for Simone to realize she’s more than gymnastics, but just goes to show how important it is to prioritize yourself.