Simone Biles, the American gymnast and reigning Olympic champion whose run in Tokyo came to an abrupt halt when she withdrew from the women’s gymnastics team final, expressed gratitude on social media Thursday for the ‘outpouring of love and support’ she’s received.
“The outpouring of 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, several hours before the individual all-around gymnastics final.
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
USA Gymnastics said Wednesday Biles would not participate in the all-around “in order to focus on her mental health.” Biles had said she was not in the right place mentally to compete. USA Gymnastics said Biles would continue to be evaluated to determine whether she would participate in next week’s individual event finals.
“It just sucks when you are fighting with your own head,” Biles said, who won four golds at the Rio De Janeiro Olympics and is widely considered the best gymnast of all time, the New York Times reported.
“We whole heartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many,” USA Gymnastics tweeted.
Other public figures took to social media to further applaud Biles’ decision.
“You are a champion and role model to us all,” said Representative Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez. “Thank you for showing us what greatness and bravery look like - on the outside *and* the inside. You make our country very proud.”
“Thank you to the GOAT for reminding us that mental health comes first,” said White House domestic policy advisor Susan Rice in reaction to Biles’s tweet. “Couldn’t be prouder of the poise she showed.”
Houston’s mayor also offered his support: “Yes ... you are so much more than your accomplishments and gymnastics ... If you never dance, flip, or swing on the uneven bars again you will forever be an American and international champion.”