Simone Biles – prioritizing mental health over sport

Simone Biles – prioritizing mental health  over sport
United States’ BILES Simone performs the vaulting horse during the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s team Final at Ariake Gymnastics in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

Born in 1997, she developed an innate talent at a young age. She began competing in 2007 and by 2011 she had cemented her standing at the junior elite level.

Biles is the first woman to win three consecutive world all-around titles, she earned four gold medals and one bronze at the Olympic Games in Rio, setting a new American record for most gold medals received in women’s gymnastics at a single Games. 

In this year’s Olympics, Biles did a vault with 2.5 twists, but she appeared dazed and disoriented as she flipped in the air. She completed 1.5 twists and nearly fell upon landing. The vault received the lowest score of the rotation, 13.766 — a huge drop from her average score of 16.050 for the same event during the previous Olympics. 

The USA Gymnastics said- “After a further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, to focus on her mental health”. 

“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so man” – the statement continued. 

Biles herself opened up about what had happened during the vault and her current state of mind, revealing that she’s still experiencing the “twisties”. 

What happened to Simone Biles is not an example of weakness, but strength and resilience.  The media attacked her for being characterless telling her she couldn’t stand a failure in her career. She answered:  

“I didn’t have a bad performance and quit. I’ve had plenty of bad performances throughout my career and finished the competition, I simply got so lost my safety was at risk as well as a team medal.”

Often we think that physical strength is all a successful athlete needs to have, but sport is not about just competitions and medals – and Simone proved this in the course of the 2020 Olympics.  

A successful athlete isn’t a God with muscles. It’s a man or a woman who loves unconditionally their sport and is willing to dedicate body and soul to it. 

Strong athletes acknowledge their failures and limits, prioritizing mental health over the most important competitions of their lives. 

Simone Biles is what sport is all about. Her courage lies in her choice to come back no matter what and win a bronze medal that is worth more than a hundred gold ones together.   

Thank you, Simone!