Simone Biles has recently admitted that she should have quit gymnastics way before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics…
Speaking to New York Magazine, the twenty-four-year-old opened up about how the trauma of being s*xually abused by Larry Nassar impacted her personally as well as professionally.
“If you looked at everything I’ve gone through for the past 7 years, I should have never made another Olympic team,” Biles told the outlet. “I should have quit way before Tokyo when Larry Nassar was in the media for 2 years. It was too much.”
“But I was not going to let him take something I’ve worked for since I was 6 years old. I wasn’t going to let him take that joy away from me. So I pushed past that for as long as my mind and my body would let me.”
However, as we all know, it wasn’t smooth sailing for the athlete. Biles explained that she suffered from the “twisties,” which is a block in the mind that causes gymnasts to feel like they’re somewhat lost mid-air and can result in some serious harm.
“It’s so dangerous,” she said. “It’s basically life or death. It’s a miracle I landed on my feet. If that was any other person, they would have gone out on a stretcher. As soon as I landed that vault, I went and told my coach: ‘I cannot continue.'”
The news comes after the star left audiences shocked as she pulled out of the competition following her worst-ever Olympic vault score, saying she needed to focus on her mental wellbeing.
Biles received an outpour of support from a number of high-profile figures including Michelle Obama and Viola Davis, but of course, she also received some criticism from a bunch of jobless nobodies online, including Piers Morgan, who publicly shamed Biles in an opinion piece saying she “let her team down, [her] mates, [her] fans and [her] country.”
However, Biles came back and by the end of the Games, she managed to snag herself a silver and bronze medal, making her one of the most decorated female gymnasts in American history.
Biles is now also part of a growing list of athletes that have spoken out about the lack of understanding about mental health in sports.
Recently, Naomi Osaka has been extremely vocal about how her mental health has impacted her tennis career. The grand slam winner opened up about the difficulties of maintaining a constantly confident exterior in the public eye. The twenty-three-year-old Japanese tennis player withdrew from the French Open after she received a $15,000 fine previous to the event because she refused to do the press conferences as it gave her “huge anxiety.”
Posting to her Instagram account, she wrote this:
“This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago,” Osaka wrote on her social media. “I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.
“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.”
We’re all for young athletes taking the time to prioritize their mental health. The stigma and judgment around the topic, especially in sports needs to end as soon as possible.