Simone Biles Reveals Her Mental Health Issues Started Before Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 08/31/2021, 9:52 AM EDT
FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Gymnastics – Artistic – Women’s Team – Final – Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan – July 27, 2021. Simone Biles of the United States wearing a protective face mask gestures. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

Tokyo Olympics 2020 was a whole different experience for Simone Biles. She grabbed the headlines at the mega-event, but it was not because of her podium finishes.


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Simone took a huge call in withdrawing from the events because of her mental health. To be able to prioritize her mental health, even after being at the world’s biggest platform, is commendable.

Biles has motivated many athletes around the world, by making everyone realize athletes are human too. Although Biles’s life is full of struggles, she entered Tokyo with full optimism to win.


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Things like mental pressure are ever-present and their weight can’t be predicted before the match. The world’s best gymnast was also not aware of her mental health. It was only after reaching the mat that she realized the effect it was having on her.

Simone Biles’ mental issues were deep-rooted

Simone Biles entered Tokyo as the favorite to win. There were even expectations of her clean sweeping all the events like her Rio performance.

Although no one can doubt her talent on the mat, the pressure can hit even the world’s best. Tokyo Olympics was mentally exhausting for every athlete as it got postponed because of the pandemic.

The world had to wait a whole extra year, making it the most awaited game ever. The expectations of fans were sky high, especially from Biles.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Gymnastics – Artistic – Women’s Team – Final – Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan – July 27, 2021. Simone Biles of the United States in action on the vault. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo SEARCH “OLYMPICS DAY 5” FOR TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS EDITOR’S CHOICE, SEARCH “REUTERS OLYMPICS TOPIX” FOR ALL EDITOR’S CHOICE PICTURES.

Talking to Athleta, Biles addressed that her mental health issues did not start in Tokyo but before that. However, she did not realize it until she was up in the air and had a bad landing.“I wouldn’t even say it started in Tokyo. I feel like it was probably a little bit deeper-rooted than that,” Simone said.

She further added, “I think it was a just a stress factor that kind of built up over time,” Simone said. My body and my mind just said no. Even I didn’t know I was going through it until it just happened.”

Biles is the GOAT, despite withdrawing in Tokyo

Simone Biles is undeniably the most decorated gymnast in Olympic history. The 24-year-old was all set to clinch the gold, yet again. But just before her match, she lost her aunt back at home.


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Albeit Biles competed, but when she reached the mat, the emotions and the pressure to win kicked in. She had to withdraw mid-match as she was afraid of getting hurt if she continued.

Simone Biles is spotted by her coach Laurent Landi as she competes on uneven bars during the final day of women’s competition in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for gymnastics in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., June 27, 2021. Picture taken June 27, 2021. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Biles was surprised that people supported her in the decision. She had expected to face backlash after withdrawing. From her fans to fellow Olympians, there was an outpouring of sensitivity and empathy towards her.


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Biles is an example for athletes to gather the courage to take care of their own health. While athletes look like superheroes when they perform, they are only human.


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Shreya Verma

186 articles

Shreya Verma is an NBA and Tennis Author at EssentiallySports. A graduate of Political Science, Shreya comes from a strong sports background. A professional 10m air pistol shooter, Shreya is also a tennis enthusiast.