Simone Biles comments on Mikaela Shiffrin’s struggles at Winter Olympics: ‘You can’t judge somebody’s mental health through a platform’

Simone Biles became an advocate for mental health after she pulled out of some events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Meredith Clark
New York
Friday 18 February 2022 19:08
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If there’s anyone who can relate to the amount of pressure athletes are under when competing in the Olympics, it’s Simone Biles.

The star gymnast reacted on Thursday to skier Mikaela Shiffrin’s post on social media, where she shared some of the negative messages she received from failing to finish her third event at the Beijing Olympic Games.

“Choker,” “Can’t handle the pressure,” and “Arrogant” were just some of the comments the 26-year-old American seemed to receive in reaction to Thursday’s fall.

In a second post, Shiffrin wrote, “Just get up. It’s not always easy, but it’s also not the end of the world to fail.”

Biles, 24, became an advocate for mental health when she pulled out of some events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics because she wasn’t in the right headspace. In an interview with TODAY, Biles sympathised with Shiffrin’s messages on social media.

“Honestly, you can’t judge somebody’s mental health through a platform, so I hope she’s doing okay, but it’s nice that she’s giving an insight on exactly how she’s feeling,” Biles said. “America is kind of like, ‘Gold medal or bust’ and so that puts a lot of pressure on ourselves, but we also put a lot of pressure on ourselves already because it’s the pinnacle of our career.”

“At the end of the day, you have to realise you’re still one of the best athletes on the planet and you’re at the Olympics,” she added. “How many people get to go to the Olympics?”

“I love Mikaela Shiffrin and I hope that she just embraces the Olympic experience because we don’t know how many we’ll be able to go to,” Biles said.

Shiffrin failed to finish either of her first two races at the Beijing Olympics, and placed eighth in the women’s super-G event last Friday. Shiffrin skied-off course during the slalom portion of Thursday’s combined race, making it her third “did not finish” out of five events at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

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