Hollywood stars have come out in support of the US Olympic gymnast Simone Biles after she decided to pull out of an event, citing mental health concerns.
Observers inside Tokyo’s Ariake Gymnastics Centre and around the world were left stunned on Tuesday (27 July) when the four-time Olympic gold medalist was pulled out of action after misjudging her vault in the first rotation.
Biles, 24, who was on course for a record six golds in gymnastics, disappeared backstage with a coach, before returning to inform teammates Grace McCallum, Jordan Chiles and Sunisa Lee they would have to go on without her, bringing them to tears.
The inexperienced trio pushed the Russian Olympic Committee all the way before having to settle for silver, trailing by 3.432 points. The States had won the previous two golds in 2012 and 2016.
Many celebrities rallied around the athlete, with comedian and actor Billy Eichner tweeting about Biles’s strength and maturity. “The wonderful Simone Biles pulls out of an Olympic event to protect her well-being and I can’t even bring myself to leave Twitter,” he posted.
Comedian Chelsea Handler added: “@Simone_Biles drew a boundary for herself and her health on the world stage. This is real superhuman strength, setting an example for all of us.”
Beth Behrs, former star of CBS’s Two Broke Girls, wrote in a lengthy statement: “You are incredible. I wish I’d had the strength and bravery in my 20s to prioritise my mental health the way you and @naomiosaka have done. You have set an incredible precedent for all the young girls who look up to you, and to this gal in her 30s. Thank you.”
See more of the supportive tweets below.
Biles has said she will continue to consider her participation in this year’s Olympics on a day-by-day basis, with the prospect of her competing at one of the other four finals she has qualified for.
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