Simone Biles relives her ‘whirlwind of emotions’ in Tokyo, proud of ‘the lesson that she gave the world’

Simone Biles, who was awarded the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year, opens up on her tryst with mental health issues.

Simone Biles at Qualification in Tokyo Olympics
Simone Biles

Simone Biles flew to Tokyo with a mission to tie the record for the most decorated female gymnast at the Tokyo Olympics. The Tokyo Games were supposed to be the American’s coronation as the GOAT of gymnastics. Instead, it turned out to be a tryst as she pulled out of the finals of almost all events.

Biles withdrew from five of her six finals at the Olympics in July to focus on her mental health. The four-time gold medallist suffered from a phenomenon known as the twisties that affected her spatial awareness when competing. The decision to step away from the Olympic finals for which she has been training for five years was a courageous decision and was welcomed by all.

Reliving her experience at the Games, Biles feels that it all happened for the greater good. The 24-year-old feels that it lifted a huge weight off her shoulder and now she can focus on the problem at hand, getting the right help. Simone Biles is delighted to spend some time with her loved ones.

It kind of feels nice, it’s definitely a weight off my shoulders. But, everything that happened in Tokyo I believe there’s a reason that that transpired. I’m getting the correct help that I need, but it definitely feels better to be back here in the US, surrounded by my family and my friends,” Biles told Marca.

It was honestly really hard. It’s something I never planned or would have thought of in a million years, so to have that happen was so crazy. But, to have the girls’ support and my coaches’ support meant the world to me. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, but everything happens for a reason and I think there’s a lot of greatness that came out of that.

“Lesson that she gave the world more important than the medals,” Simone Biles

Simone Biles with her teammates
Simone Biles with her teammates

Simone Biles adds that while it was heartbreaking to step away from the Olympic finals she has been training for, it was the right choice for her mental well being. As the American decided to pull out, her teammates rushed to her and embraced her as they consoled Biles. She shares that her teammates’ compassion and support made the journey easier for her.

It was kind of a whirlwind of emotions, like ‘oh my God, what’s happening because I’ve trained five years for this?’ So, I was really sad, but I had to do what was right for the team and I knew that was the correct decision, but also what was right for me and my mental wellbeing.

It (hug from teammates) did comfort me because those girls mean the world to me and we’ve been through so much together. But, it also kind of broke my heart that I had to walk away from them and not compete with them. But, to know that they had my support, hopefully, they felt that with me just being on the floor.

Biles ended up winning two medals at the Tokyo Games but she feels that it was the lesson she gave the world which makes her proud. “Most definitely the lesson that I gave the world in Tokyo because nobody would have ever thought that would happen but everything that happened because of that has brought real good attention to mental health and the awareness that it brings.

That was the craziest thing for me, how much talk and buzz there was around my name even though I wasn’t competing. So, I am really proud that people are taking it more seriously. But, obviously, I wish I could have gone out there and done a little bit more. But, with the cards I was dealt I’m not mad at the results,” she concludes.

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