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Health & Fitness Tokyo Olympics: McIlroy praises Biles and Osaka for raising mental health awareness

07:26  30 july  2021
07:26  30 july  2021 Source:   goal.com

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Rory McIlroy has praised fellow Olympic athletes Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka for prompting a discussion around mental health in sport.

Rory McIlroy has praised fellow Olympians Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka for sparking fresh discussion around mental health in sport. American Biles , a four-time Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, pulled out of the individual all-around final and the women's team final this week to focus on her mental wellbeing. Japan's Osaka withdrew from this year's French Open tennis and opted not to play at Wimbledon after speaking of battles with depression and anxiety, although she has taken part in the Olympics . Four-time golf major winner McIlroy , who is representing Ireland in his first Olympics

Rory McIlroy has praised fellow Olympians Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka for sparking fresh discussion around mental health in sport.

Rory McIlroy is swinging a racket at a ball © Getty images Rory McIlroy

American Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, pulled out of the individual all-around final and the women's team final this week to focus on her mental wellbeing.

Japan's Osaka withdrew from this year's French Open tennis and opted not to play at Wimbledon after speaking of battles with depression and anxiety, although she has taken part in the Olympics.

Four-time golf major winner McIlroy, who is representing Ireland in his first Olympics, has previously opened up about his own struggles.

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  Simone Biles WITHDRAWS from the individual all-around competition Simone Biles has withdrawn from the individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics 'to focus on her mental health', USA Gymnastics has announced.The four time gold medal winner, the current champion, decided not to compete in Thursday’s finals after consulting with Team US officials following her dismal withdrawal from the team competition on Tuesday.

Rory McIlroy has praised fellow Olympians Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka for sparking fresh discussion around mental health in sport. American Biles , a four-time Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, pulled out of the individual all-around final and the women's team final this week to focus on her mental wellbeing. Japan's Osaka withdrew from this year's French Open tennis and opted not to play at Wimbledon after speaking of battles with depression and anxiety, although she has taken part in the Olympics . Four-time golf major winner McIlroy , who is representing Ireland in his first Olympics

Mental health campaigners have applauded Simone Biles for prioritising her wellbeing after the world’s top gymnast withdrew from the women’s all-around gymnastics final at the Tokyo Olympics . Biles , 24, pulled out of the competition after a medical evaluation determined that she was not ready to compete, following “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her wellbeing. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.” Biles ’s decision was widely commended by charities, with Rethink Mental Illness among those praising the Olympian on

And the 32-year-old said he was fully behind Biles, Osaka and other athletes for ensuring discussions around the subject are "not taboo anymore".

"I live in the United States and anything that came on the TV about the Olympics it was Simone Biles. I mean it was the Simone Biles Olympics, right?" McIlroy said.

"To have the weight of 300-whatever million [people in the USA] on her shoulders is massive.

"Just as I thought Naomi Osaka was right to do what she did at the French Open and take that time off and get herself in the right place, I 100 per cent agree with what Simone is doing as well.

"You have to put yourself in the best position physically and mentally to be at your best and if you don't feel like you are at that, or you are in that position then you are going to have to make those decisions.

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I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now. "We have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do. "I don't trust myself as much anymore. In May, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open to protect her mental health , a move publicly supported by several sportspeople including heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and basketball player Stephen Curry. Biles is the most successful US gymnast of all time, and winner of four gold medals and a bronze at Rio 2016.

Biles ’s withdrawal during the women’s team final and her subsequent exit from the all-around final on Thursday in order to preserve her mental health has also underlined the dangers inherent in gymnastics and the necessity of being in the right frame of mind in order to even attempt it. So much of gymnastics is mental and where the sport differs from many others is that if gymnasts are not in the right frame of mind to execute their dangerous skills, they will not simply run slower or strike a ball into a fence. Each complex skill comes with the risk of serious injury, and it is something they are keenly


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"I'm certainly very impressed, especially with those two women to do what they did and put themselves first.

"I'm glad that at least the conversation has started. There's been a few athletes that have really spoken: Michael Phelps, Kevin Love, Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles. The conversation, it's not taboo anymore."

McIlroy believes an athlete suffering from mental health issues should not be viewed any differently from one suffering from a physical injury.

"People can talk about it. Just as someone has a knee injury, or an elbow injury, if you don't feel right 100 per cent mentally that's an injury too," he said.

"I think in sports there's still this notion of powering through it, digging in and you're not a competitor unless you get through these things. I think that's probably part of it.

"But then when you hear the most decorated Olympian ever talk about his struggles and then probably the greatest gymnast ever talk about her struggles, you know then it encourages more people who have felt that way to come out and share how they're feeling."

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Osaka had withdrawn from French Open this year, and her decision came after she refused to participate in the post-match press conferences. The tennis player also wrote an essay for The Times, stating that the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, among others, had backed her decision to prioritise her mental Just like her, Biles also struggled, and while it was heartbreaking for everyone to have to watch her pull out, it was vital that she prioritised her mental health , sending a powerful message to the world. She also told reporters, “You usually don’t hear me say things like that, because I’ll usually

Biles ' grandfather, Ron Biles , and his wife, Nellie, watch as she waits on the podium to receive her gold medal after winning the floor final of the 2016 Olympics . They took in Simone and her younger sister, Adria, and then formally adopted them when Simone was just 6 because Simone's mom was The eyes of the world were on Biles this week as she aimed to add to her remarkable legacy. However, her emotional interview after Tuesday's team final put the issue of mental health front and center of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics . Earlier that day, Naomi Osaka , who has also talked openly about her own

McIlroy has been a little out of sorts heading into the Olympics, a tie for 59th at the Irish Open preceded a missed cut at the Scottish Open while he shared 46th at the Open Championship.

However, the world number 13 now has more coping mechanisms to handle the mental strain of competing at the highest level and fluctuations in form and performance.

He saud: "I certainly have a few more tools in my mental toolbox to maybe deal with things than I had a few years ago. Again, it's just trying to put yourself in an environment in which you can thrive. That's the bottom line.

"Someone like Naomi Osaka was trying to put herself in that environment in the French Open and I think the whole sports world was behind that decision. It obviously didn't play out the way she wanted it to, but it certainly started a great conversation."

Simone Biles hails Naomi Osaka for leading 'important' chat about mental health in sport .
Simone Biles said Naomi Osaka reached out to her after she withdrew from several Olympic events as she praised her for speaking out about mental health.Biles withdrew from multiple Olympic gymnastic events including the team competition final and all-around after suffering with a case of the "twisties", a state of disassociation between the mind and body which stops athletes from being able to successfully perform, potentially leading to a serious injury.

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This is interesting!