Simone Biles, the G.O.A.T. gymnast and inspiration to everyone worldwide, has had to withdraw from the women’s team gymnastics final on Tuesday. After performing a vault during the first rotation of the team’s competition, Biles landed awkwardly and was immediately attended to by a trainer.
“Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,” said a USA Gymnastics statement. “She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions. Thinking of you, Simone!”
It’s definitely a surprise to fans everywhere that the four-time gold medalist had to withdraw from a competition, but it’s a stark reminder of the pressure female athletes like Biles face every day. Imagine knowing the whole world is watching you and cheering you on, with full expectations of a gold-medal performance, and then you get injured. It has to be a crushing blow both emotionally and psychologically—not to mention physically.
While the medical issue after Biles’ vault performance is a valid concern, her coach provided NBC announcer John Roethlisberger with more details.
“We’ve just been told that, with regards to Simone withdrawing, it is not injury-related. It is a mental issue that Simone is having,” he said.
During a press conference, Biles confirmed the news and credited Naomi Osaka as the inspiration behind putting her mental health first.
One of the most remarkable mixed zone press conferences I’ve known. In which Simone Biles described pulling out of… https://t.co/W1uzKVeZS5
— Ian Herbert (@ianherbs)
During a later update, Roethlisberger confirmed that USA Gymnastics called it a “medical issue” and that Biles would be “assessed for medical readiness” in the coming days.
Simone said after vault she knew she wasn’t in the right head space. And she didn’t want to risk injuring herself.
— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP)
After the final ended, Biles told reporters she was “okay, just dealing with some things internally which will get fixed out in the next couple of days.”
Though we may not know the exact details surrounding Biles’ withdrawal, this shows that taking care of your mental health is just as important and vital as taking care of yourself physically—especially for a world-renowned athlete under tremendous pressure to continue being the “greatest of all time.”
People around the internet have offered their support and well-wishes for Biles, with many noting that she should absolutely do whatever she needs to do to take care of herself.
Simone Biles is the greatest gymnast of all time, but USAG’s strategy of not caring about team composition or lineu… https://t.co/DsgdRoUW6d
— mia / amelia / הדסה לאה (@ameliamerr_)
Says that she felt bad after practice earlier in the day, was full of stress, shaking. So when the first vault went… https://t.co/iGyFDpEsIV
— Matt Dickinson (@DickinsonTimes)
Gratitude and support are what @Simone_Biles deserves. Still the GOAT and we are all just lucky to be able to see h… https://t.co/cAInvwrj5z
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki)
It’s impossible to understand the pressure Simone Biles—the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport—and Naomi… https://t.co/vDw3Q3sipw
— Evette Dionne (@freeblackgirl)
Earlier this summer, tennis champ Naomi Osaka withdrew from a press tour and took a mental health break to prioritize herself and her needs. Osaka and Biles are trailblazing the path for future athletes and young athletes when it comes to placing value on mental health when you’re in the spotlight and under so much pressure to perform well.
Here’s hoping Simone Biles gets exactly what she needs during this break. She deserves it.