The greatest gymnast of all-time is receiving a mix of love and hate online, with dozens of celebrities speaking out in support of her decision to pull out of competition for her mental health.
Simone and Team USA Win Silver
Simone Biles has constantly been put on a pedestal by USA Gymnastics, the country, and even the world. The moment has forced everyone to reflect on how we treat our athletes and the mental strain that is put on them by all of us. Simone reminded us that she is human and gave some statements after she decided to drop out.
"I've just never felt like this going into a competition before. I tried to go out here and have fun ... but once I came out here, I was like, 'no, mental is not there, so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.'"
Biles made an extremely difficult and admirably bold decision by pulling out of the competition. She was feeling the burden for quite some time, but she made her decision to pull out after a missed landing on a vault that she normally would stick perfectly.
"I didn't want to go into any of the other events second-guessing myself. So, I thought it would be better if I took a step back and let these girls go out there and do their job."
This decision to step out of the team finals has now been followed by her decision to pull out of the individual competition as well. Simone is set to be in a couple more events and this second decision is leading people to believe that she will not participate in those either.
Simone is a star athlete that qualified for almost all of the gymnastic events. Her stepping out now leads to Jade Carey stepping up for the all-around individual event and we will most likely see others rise to the occasion for the remaining events.
Retired Gymnasts Give Support
I was 14 y/o w/ a tibial stress fracture, left alone w/ no cervical spine exam after this fall. I competed in the Olympic floor final minutes later. @Simone_Biles decision demonstrates that we have a say in our own health\u2014\u201ca say\u201d I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian.pic.twitter.com/LVdghdAh1g— Dominique Moceanu (@Dominique Moceanu) 1627483863
Sending so much support to @Simone_Biles rn. It's hard to imagine all the pressure she's feeling. The weight of the world can be heavy, so I hope she knows we all love her and are so proud of her.— Samantha Peszek (@Samantha Peszek) 1627394348
Former Olympians and teammates have been speaking out in support of Simone's original decision to step out of the team finals and we are seeing a flood of support on social media in general for the star. This support has largely been from the public, however athletes and celebrities have also been very outspoken about Simone's greatness, the importance of her mental health, and the mental toll that athletes face.
Celebrities Speak Out on Mental Health and Simone's Decision
Don\u2019t know about you but I think @Simone_Biles just empowered everyone to put their mental well-being above everything else. WHAT A QUEEN. GOAT in more ways than one.— Danusia Francis (@Danusia Francis) 1627401952
Dear @Simone_Biles\u2026\n\nAlthough I\u2019m just a VERY dumb Sports Stooge, I felt obligated to remind you.\n\nYou\u2019re the greatest of all time.. ain\u2019t nothing that happens in Tokyo can change that. Your effort, commitment, and UNBELIEVABLE talent have been a gift to us fans.\n\nCheers pic.twitter.com/APsVSswGdn— Pat McAfee (@Pat McAfee) 1627390566
Once a champion, always a champion.\u00a0 God Bless @Simone_Biles.— Manny Pacquiao (@Manny Pacquiao) 1627401818
Simone Biles has worn the crown with grace while dominating-hurt, healthy, and everything in between. It is a privilege to bear witness to the blend of gift and grit she is. Simone had permission to do as she wishes before all the accolades. Certainly still does now.— Connor Carrick (@Connor Carrick) 1627435393
The support from major figures has resonated with people greatly and the public is overwhelmingly in support of Simone online. Simone has become a role model in many different ways after these Tokyo Games and seeing major athletes, sports commentators, and celebrities speak out is opening up the conversation about mental health in sports.
We have seen countless Olympic athletes and athletes in general struggle with mental health before, during, and after their careers. The conversation is one that should have been occurring awhile ago, but Simone's bold decision seems to be the thing that finally brings the attention that the topic deserves.
There are some celebrities and members of the public however that continue to criticize the star over her decision, calling her weak and saying that she let her teammates down.
Some Celebrities Remain Unsupportive
You can either listen to snowflake Twitter, @Simone_Biles - or listen to me. You're a great champion, & great champions get back on their feet when they get knocked down. So, re-engage in these Games, win Gold, & inspire with the power of resilience not resignation. Go for it. pic.twitter.com/RFmV37PX1F— Piers Morgan (@Piers Morgan) 1627482747
Let\u2019s not forget that Simone Biles has won over 35 medals for our country while being emotionally, physically, and sexually abused by USA Gymnastics. Simone is incredibly strong and does not deserve any of this. Mental health should never be mocked.https://twitter.com/jasonscampbell/status/1420122875323985920\u00a0\u2026— Paige Spiranac (@Paige Spiranac) 1627484540
These unsupportive comments remain the minority opinion, but they do have an impact as they negatively affect the conversation about mental health and the sports world in general.
Simone Biles is the greatest of all-time in her sport and stepping out of the spotlight was a powerful conversation-starter for the entire world. We wish all the best to Simone in the probable last competition of her career and we wholeheartedly support her decision to step out and put her mental and physical health above other's expectations.
We love you Simone and all of the women on the USA Gymnastics Team! Go for gold and keep your physical and mental health above all else!
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