‘I should have quit way before’: Simone Biles opens up on her tryst with trauma in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics

Simone Biles withdrew from five of her six finals at the Tokyo Olympics to focus on her mental health.

Simone Biles
Simone Biles

American gymnast Simone Biles feels that she should have had walked away from the Olympic team before the Tokyo Olympics. 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.

Back in 2018, Simone Biles had revealed that she was one of the United States gymnasts abused by team doctor Larry Nassar, who is now serving a life sentence in jail. The trauma of the incident had a big impact on her and was one of the biggest reasons behind her withdrawal from the finals in Tokyo.

If you looked at everything I’ve gone through for the past seven years, I should have never made another Olympic team,” she said in a New York Magazine interview. “I should have quit way before Tokyo, when Larry Nassar was in the media for two years. It was too much.

But I was not going to let him take something I’ve worked for since I was six years old. I wasn’t going to let him take that joy away from me. So I pushed past that for as long as my mind and my body would let me.

“As a Black woman, we just have to be greater,” Simone Biles

Simone Biles at Tokyo Olympics
Simone Biles at Tokyo Olympics

Simone Biles returned from the Tokyo Olympics with bronze in the balance beam, in addition to a silver in the team competition. The 19-time world champion went on to open up about the need to withdraw from events as a result of the twisties. biles reckons that it was equal to forgetting gymnastics altogether.

Say up until you’re 30 years old, you have your complete eyesight (then) one morning, you wake up, you can’t see shit, but people tell you to go on and do your daily job as if you still have your eyesight.

You’d be lost, wouldn’t you? That’s the only thing I can relate it to. I have been doing gymnastics for 18 years. I woke up – lost it. How am I supposed to go on with my day?

Apart from the pressure of the big stage and her ever-deteriorating mental health, the additional expectations on her due to her race also played their part. “As a Black woman, we just have to be greater,” she said. ‘Because even when we break records and stuff, they almost dim it down, as if it’s just normal.

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