“We’re Not Just Entertainment” – Simone Biles Calls for More Attention to Mental Health Issues After Tokyo Olympics

Published 08/09/2021, 10:45 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Gymnastics – Artistic – Women’s Team – Final – Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan – July 27, 2021. Simone Biles of the United States during the Women’s Team Final REUTERS/Dylan Martinez


Although the Tokyo Olympics finished yesterday, the actions of Simone Biles still ring fresh in the memories of fans across the world. During the women’s gymnastics team final, Biles withdrew midway through the event after falling short on an attempted somersault on the vault.

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Within the next couple of days, Biles withdrew from three individual finals, citing mental health issues. While she took part in the balance beam final, she enhanced the spotlight on the importance of mental health.

After the event, the 24-year-old revealed her biggest takeaway from the Games.

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Simone Biles calls for people to understand the importance of mental health

In her Olympic debut, Biles made an ever-lasting impression on the way people view gymnastics. Aged just 20, she won four gold medals and a bronze medal in Rio five years ago. She took gold in the floor exercise, vault and both individual and team all-around events to establish herself as one of the best gymnasts in the world.

Coming into Tokyo, Biles carried huge expectations to repeat the same success. However, she suffered a case of the “twisties” midway through her performance in the team final. In addition, the loss of her aunt midway through the Games only made matters worse.

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

Although she got two medals home, Biles admitted placing a greater spotlight on mental health was very important. She said“Mentally I still have a lot of things that I have to work on, but to bring the topic of conversation on mental health to light means the world to me.”

In addition, she also hoped people would realise athletes are more than just performers. “People have to realise that at the end of the day we’re humans, we’re not just entertainment,” said Biles. “There are things going on behind the scenes that people have no idea about.”

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Biles: Proud to win bronze after going through a lot

After withdrawing from three finals, fans doubted Biles’ participation in the balance beam final. However, not only did the 24-year-old compete in the final, but secured her seventh Olympic medal and second in Tokyo.

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Finishing behind Chinese gymnasts Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing, Biles admitted winning bronze amidst all her troubles made the feeling surreal. She said, “I was proud of myself just to go out there after what I’ve been through. This one is definitely sweeter. I’ll treasure this one a lot more after everything I have been through.”

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With the focus now shifting to the 2024 Paris Olympics, only time will tell whether Biles will regain her golden form from the Rio Olympics.

WATCH STORY: WOW! Here Are the Most Epic All-Around Routines Performed by Simone Biles at Rio Olympics

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Sanket Nair

657 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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