Simone Biles shares heartfelt message after withdrawing from Olympic gymnastics all-around final

Gymnast cited mental health concerns as her reason for withdrawing

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Thursday 29 July 2021 03:53
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Simone Biles says mental health concerns is reason behind withdrawing

Simone Biles has responded to the heartfelt messages she’s received since withdrawing from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics team and all-around gymnastic competitions.

“The outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before,” she wrote in a tweet on Wednesday night.

Biles shocked the world after she decided to withdraw from the team competition on Tuesday after only competing in one event, citing mental health concerns.

Then it was announced that the 24-year-old would also be withdrawing from the all-around competition, in which she was favoured to take gold.

“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

The move has sparked a global conversation about mental health and how athletes should be supported when choosing to prioritise themselves over competing.

The gymnast also shared two Instagram posts from Justin Bieber and Nastia Liukin on Wednesday night.

In Bieber’s post, he said he was “proud of the decision to withdraw.”

“Sometimes our no’s are more powerful than our yes’s ... people thought I was crazy for not finishing the purpose tour but it was the best thing I could have done for my mental health! So proud of you,” the pop singer continued.

Liukin, a five-time Olympic medalist who won the women’s gymnastics all-around competition for the United States during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, wrote Biles a heartfelt thank you letter for her decision to withdraw.

“Dear Simone, Thank you,” she began. “Thank you for showing the depth of who you are beyond an athlete as a leader, role model, mental health warrior and person.”

The Olympian went on to praise Biles for “creating a safer space for current and future athletes to unequivocally be themselves.”

“Thank you for taking the sport of gymnastics to new heights as the unanimous GOAT. No one will be remembered for any single routine, competition, or medal. You, however, will undeniably be remembered by many for the compassion and bravery shown here in Tokyo. You came here as a gymnast, and you’re leaving as a hero,” she wrote.

Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, also qualified to compete in all four individual finals, which will take place next week. But she has not indicated yet if she will compete or withdraw from the events.

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