"It hurts my heart that doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me to please other people," the gymnast said.
Being an athlete is no easy feat. Knowing that the entire world's eyes are on you while you perform is bound to add some stress, isn't it? US Gymnast Simone Biles, who has been struggling to cope with the stress of competing in the Tokyo Olympics, decided to exit from the women's gymnastics team final on July 27, 2021, after she failed to stick a proper landing during her vault in the first rotation, reports PEOPLE.
Biles then disappeared backstage with a coach, before returning to inform teammates Grace McCallum, Jordan Chiles, and Sunisa Lee that she was dropping out of the competition, per Independent. Even after deciding to quit, Biles stood on the sidelines, cheering on her teammates who went on to bag the silver medal.
All my support to @Simone_Biles. Mental health is a key component of our health, and it MUST be a priority always. We need the sports world to focus on emotional and mental well-being a lot more.— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) July 28, 2021
Thank you for using your platform, you are a true champion! #MentalHealth pic.twitter.com/4Ym3E9VAEf
"I'm OK, just super frustrated of how the night played out, but super proud of these girls that stepped up and did what they needed to do and now we're Olympic silver medalists, so it's something that we'll cherish forever," Biles said. "We hope America still loves us."
Soon after Biles made her decision, the USA Gymnastics issued an official statement, claiming a "medical issue" prompted her to leave. They wrote: "Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions."
Someone said it best. @Simone_Biles already won. She is a class act. Withdrew from team competion after vault... stayed and cheered on her teammates... got them chalk for their hands.. encouraged.. hugged them. She already won. Congrats on the silver medal! @TeamUSA @USAGym— Hoda Kotb (@hodakotb) July 27, 2021
It was only later she revealed that her decision was based on her mental health. "Physically, I feel good, I'm in shape," she told Hoda Kotb exclusively on TODAY. "Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn't an easy feat, so we're just trying to take it one day at a time and we'll see."
“I don't trust myself as much as I used to,” Biles added. “I don't know if it's age and I'm a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics. I feel like I'm also not having as much fun. This Olympic Games I wanted it to be for myself but I came in and I felt like I was still doing it for other people. It hurts my heart that doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me to please other people.”
The 24-year-old athlete then revealed that her uncertainty began earlier in the day when she was unable to get herself into the right frame of mind. "I was shaking, could barely nap. I just never felt like this going into a competition before. I tried to go out and have fun and warm up a bit better but when I came out here I was like, mentally, it is not there so I need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.”
Simone Biles pulled out of the women’s gymnastics team final earlier. "I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a backseat, work on my mindfulness and I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job and I didn't want to risk the team a medal," she said pic.twitter.com/o9uhkg1EPu— TIME (@TIME) July 27, 2021
Biles, who attempted the Amanar flip, figured she wouldn't be able to complete it. Though she landed on her feet, it was not a perfect ending. “I did not choose to do a one-and-half!” she said. “I was trying to do a two-and-a-half and it just was not clicking."
“It's very uncharacteristic of me so it just sucks that it happened here at the Olympic Games because it could happen any other time," she added. "But with the year that it's been, I'm really not surprised how it played out."
That's when the most decorated gymnast decided that she would not be able to do her best during the finals, causing her to make one of the hardest decisions of her life.
“After the performance that I did, I didn't want to go into any of the other events second-guessing myself so I thought it was better if I let these girls go out there and do the job and they did just that so I think tonight they get a gold medal from me in fighting because they never gave up and they showed the world what they're capable of.”
As for participating in the upcoming events, the young gymnast is unsure about it. "We're going to take it day by day, and we're just gonna see," she said.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Jamie Squire