Simone Biles made headlines this week when she withdrew from the team finals and has since added that she won’t be competing in the individual all-around as she deals with a mental health issue.
“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement.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.”
On her Instagram story, Biles shared a message on social media from a fellow gymnast who defended her decision and cited the unimaginable trauma she endured. Biles’ apparent endorsement of the message, penned by former gymnast Andrea Orris, shines a light on what the athlete is going through.
“It makes me so frustrated to see comments about Simone not being mentally tough enough or quitting on her team,” the message states.
“We are talking about the same girl who was molested by her team doctor throughout her entire childhood and teen years, won the world all-around championship title while passing a kidney stone, put her body through an extra year of training through the pandemic, added so much difficulty to her routines that the judges literally do not know how to properly rate her skills bc they are so ahead of her time,” the statement continues.
“All of this while maintaining her responsibilities to her endorsement deals, the media, personal relationships, etc. and some people can still honestly say ‘Simone Biles is soft. She is a quitter’
“That girl has endured more trauma by the age of 24 than most people will ever go through in a lifetime.”
Three years ago, Biles revealed she was one of the more than 100 female gymnasts who credibly accused Nassar of molestation. She said the trauma brought about suicidal thoughts and made it difficult to return to the famed USA Gymnastics training facility.
“It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused,” Biles said on Twitter at the time.