Health & Fitness If You’re Criticising Simone Biles, This Is the Company You Keep. Think About That.
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Simone Biles has withdrawn from the individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics 'to focus on her mental health', USA Gymnastics has announced.The four time gold medal winner,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.
Not even two months ago, when Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open due to struggles with mental health—and promptly received a fine and criticism that still hasn't let up—about how we continue to fail our athletes. Even with what felt like years of progress, all it took was Osaka, or Kyrie Irving, or any athlete that pundits and fans had a shut up and dribble mentality toward, to unravel it all. For a certain crowd of people, it turns out that it's not OK to be not OK.
So it didn't come as much surprise that the next time we saw a top-level athlete withdraw from an event over mental health concerns, we saw everyone who has been fixating on Osaka this summer turn their ire to them. Unfortunately, that star is Simone Biles. Weeks removed from an absurd scoring controversy, Biles withdrew from the gymnastics team finals at the Tokyo Games to focus on her mental health. She will not defend her gold medal in the all-around final, either. Here's what she said to reporters after the meet.
Mental health and elite sport: the pressure to perform
Gymnastics star Simone Biles pulls out of the individual all-around final in TokyoAs part of the US team in Tokyo she was due to take part in the women’s team final yesterday, but “walked off the mat after an uncharacteristically faulty vault”, Elle magazine said. Today, it’s been confirmed that she has also withdrawn from the individual all-around final tomorrow.
"You have to be there 100%," Biles said. "If not, you get hurt. Today has been really stressful. I was shaking. I couldn't nap. I have never felt like this going into a competition, and I tried to go out and have fun. But once I came out, I was like, No. My mental is not there."
"It's been a long year, and I think we are too stressed out. We should be out here having fun," Biles added. "Sometimes that's not the case."
As expected, we saw the usual crowd attack Biles from the comfort of their phones, either saying that she should've pushed through it, couldn't handle the pressure, or grossly accused her of having a victim complex. (Another refrain: Get rid of her if she doesn't want to be there.) Forget that Biles has done far more than most of us can hope to do for this country in five lifetimes—aside from her impossible achievements on the mat, Bileson USA Gymnastics to find resolve for victims of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse. That's all in addition to Biles reminding people that gymnastics isn't golf, tennis, hoops, YouTubing, political pundit-ing, whatever your hobby is—because if you have a slip of mind in what she does for a living, you might leave with a broken neck.
Piers Is Wrong, Simone Biles Has Just Shown The World What Real Strength Looks Like
By prioritising her wellbeing over her need to win medals, Simone Biles has shown the world what true leadership looks like.And so as the world watched on this week as she arrived in Tokyo tipped to sweep up a load more golds both with and for the US team, it’s safe to say the pressure she was facing was much more than most of us experience on a tough day at the office. So when news broke that Biles had dropped out of the gymnastics team event for health reasons, many people who love to watch her perform were understandably disappointed. But should they be surprised? Should they be critical? Or even worse — outraged….
Those who thought they had something to say still said it anyway.
Charlie Kirk calls Simone Biles a "selfish sociopath" and a "shame to the country"
"We are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles"— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell)
USA gymnastics should pull Simone Biles’s ability to compete as an individual going forward & elevate the next best gymnast to the all around competitions. Reward the gymnast who didn’t quit on her teammates. If Biles can’t go for the team, she shouldn’t go individually either.— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis)
*NEW: Simon Biles calls herself the Greatest of All Time - but no GOAT would quit on their teammates like that, costing them an Olympic gold medal.
Get back out there, Simone - you're a great champion not a quitter.
Simone Biles and the slip-up that's split the world of sport
TOM LEONARD: The expression of disbelief that crossed Simone Biles's face as she completed the less than perfect move during the women's team final at the Olympics was shared by all.So the fleeting expression of disbelief that crossed the champion gymnast's face as she completed the less than perfect move during the women's team final at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday was shared by all.
My column:— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan)
lmao wut? She quit on all her teammates and her country - but hey she clapped and had fun!
Biles should have toughed it out for her peers. She didn't. She deserves ridicule.
Stop. Celebrating. Fake. Victimhood.— Amanda (@AmandaPresto)
My first instinct was to write about how Biles didn't fail us—it's that so many of us failed her. But that's not even my story to write. What Biles said is what she said. And it shouldn't be worth repeating, but when anyone says they're stepping back because of mental health concerns, we need to leave it at that. This isn't pundit fodder. It's not the time to start drafting the tweet where you show your concern for Biles and her health, buuuuut write that she can still redeem herself by competing next week, right? This is not an issue where we should show up, First Take-style, and weigh in with the opinion no one's had yet. We debate touchdowns and goals, not anxiety and depression.
So if you choose to get on TV, ship off a tweet, or hell, even tell a friend that Biles should've sucked it up, you're on the same side of history that banished Tommie Smith from public life after he raised his fist at the 1968 Summer Olympics. It's as simple as that. You, me—or any of us—don't need to say another word.
Video: Simone Biles appears to struggle with vault (The Independent)
Mental Health in Sport Is Finally Having Its Moment .
Tokyo 2020 will always be remembered as the Games where stars such as Simone Biles had to step back from their sports to protect their mental wellbeing. Now, other athletes who’ve wrestled with declining mental health, as well as the sports psychologists and performance coaches they work with, tell Men's Health about the unique pressures of elite-level sport and explain what can be done to make sure athletes thrive personally, as well asWhile the sporting world scratched its head and wondered if and when Biles would be back, she quietly retreated to a gym on the edge of Tokyo and worked on honing the basics. When she returned, just in time for her final event, she took home a bronze medal.