Simone Biles has said that the abuse she suffered by the Team USA doctor, Larry Nassar, may have contributed to her Olympic withdrawal.
The 24-year-old gymnast addressed the question of whether the abuse she suffered at the hands of Nassar impacted her performance at the Tokyo Olympics, at which she withdrew from several competitions citing mental health concerns.
Biles spoke with Today, where she was asked whether her horrific experiences affected her mental health while at the Games: “Now that I think about it, maybe in the back of my head, probably, yes, because there are certain triggers,” she said. “You don’t even know, and I think it could have. I’m not exactly sure, it was just the craziest week.”
Biles was one of more than 150 women who came forward to accuse Nassar, the former doctor for Team USA, of misconduct. As per TMZ, Biles said back in 2018: “It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to it horrifyingly as the ‘special’ treatment.”
Nassar was eventually sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison in 2018.
As per the Today Show, Biles said before the Games that part of the reason she wanted to compete in Tokyo was to advocate for change in her sport and so that the Nassar scandal would not be forgotten.
Speaking with Today, she also revealed that this pressure weighed on her “a little bit.”
“But I knew that still being the face of gymnastics and the USA and everything we brought, it’s not going to be buried under the rug, and it will still be a very big conversation,” said Biles, who is the only Nassar victim still competing for USA Gymnastics. “So we still have to protect those athletes and figure out why it happened, who knew what when.”
Biles has previously opened up several times about the abuse she suffered.
Most recently, she spoke of it in an episode of her Facebook watch show, Simone vs. Herself.
In the show, she said she was driving near her home in Houston when she became filled with emotion.
“I just remember breaking down and calling my mom,” Biles said. “She told me to pull over. She was like, ‘Can you drive?’ because I was crying so hard.”
She also revealed that she would constantly stay in bed because “sleeping was better than offing myself.”
“It was my way to escape reality. Sleeping was like the closest thing to death for me at that point, so I just slept all the time.”