“The outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics,” the 24-year-old athlete tweeted on Wednesday, July 28. “Which I never truly believed before.”
After opting out of the team final on Tuesday, July 27, Biles told reporters that she was going to take the rest of the games “a day at a time.” The following day, USA Gymnastics confirmed the Dancing With the Stars alum would not participate in individual all-around on Thursday, July 29, to “focus on her mental health” after further medical evaluation.
“Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals. Jade Carey, who had the ninth highest score in qualifications, will participate in her place in the all-around,” the organization said in a statement. “We wholeheartedly 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.”
Biles was on hand to support her teammates on Tuesday as they took home the silver medal.
“After that vault, I was like: ‘I’m not in the right headspace, I’m not going to lose a medal for this country and for these girls’ because they worked way too hard for me to go out there and have them lose a medal,” she explained at the time.
On Thursday, Biles retweeted a photo of her watching Suni Lee and Carey, 21, take on their individual events, with Lee taking home the gold. In addition to Team USA sticking together amid Biles’ struggles, past and present athletes are applauding the Courage to Soar author for putting her mental health first.
“She’s human, and I think sometimes people forget that. And Simone, just like everyone else, is doing the best that she can,” Olympian Aly Raisman said on Today on Tuesday.
NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers added during a Green Bay Packers press conference on Wednesday that “there needs to be more conversation” around sports and mental health.
“We as athletes are often put on a pedestal that we’re not — that we’re beyond any mental hindrances or clutter. And the only time that mental health often gets talked about is when it’s under the conversation of depression. I didn’t have any depression, but I have a ton of respect for people who speak out in those situations,” the 37-year-old football player said. “For me, it was just about clearing any of the clutter. And that’s what I try to do with this offseason by adjusting some habits and spending time with my loved ones, traveling as safely and as often as I possibly could and then making sure I was ready to go if I came back.”
It’s yet to be determined whether Biles will participate in the vault, floor exercise and balance beam finals at the Tokyo Olympics in the coming days.