“It Wasn’t My Goal”: Simone Biles Reveals She Never Actually Wanted to Become a Mental Health Advocate

Published 10/11/2021, 1:14 PM EDT
TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 03: Simone Biles of Team United States poses with the bronze medal during the Women’s Balance Beam Final medal ceremony on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on August 03, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)


Simone Biles is the most decorated gymnast of all time. Remarkably, Biles has 14 World Championship titles to her name, a feat no other American gymnast has ever achieved. Having bestowed pride upon her nation on several occasions, she is certainly a legend.

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Biles first graced the mat at 6, and there has been no looking back for her ever since. However, during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she shocked the world, withdrawing from most of her events, citing mental health concerns.

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This move not only rattled the world of sports but equally inspired millions. Biles made a mark by prioritizing her own mental health, encouraging athletes around the world to do the same. However, in a recent interview, Biles revealed that becoming a mental health advocate wasn’t always her first choice.

Biles believes that everyone goes through the process differently

Withdrawing from the events in Tokyo, Biles spread the message that it is okay to prioritize yourself over success. Hence, she is now looked up to by aspiring athletes and many more. However, Biles didn’t think of becoming a mental health advocate when she first took the big step.

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 27: Simone Biles of Team United States competes on vault during the Women’s Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

“Speaking out on mental health, I knew that I could have the possibility of becoming an advocate for that. But it wasn’t my goal. It’s not what I really wanted. It’s like I am still going through my own thing so how am I supposed to teach people, “Hey.. you should do this or this,'” said Biles.

Biles understands that this process is subjective and different for everyone, so she cannot really advise anyone to follow in her footsteps. However, she finds it soothing to go through it together.

“But everybody goes through the process differently and there are different methods that work for each individual person. So I didn’t really want to but at least we’re going through it together and I can teach them something in that.”

Simone Biles has donned the role remarkably well. She revealed the extreme pressure and struggle that she as an athlete went through, and how she dealt with it.

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“Mental’s not here”: Simone Biles on walking out

Right after the qualifiers, Simone Biles had realized that something was wrong; Her body was telling her to stop and take a break. She recalls that she went for a 2.5 flip but could do only 1.5, which could have been fatal for her. That was the very moment she realized she could not continue.

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 03: Simone Biles of Team United States reacts before the Women’s Balance Beam Final at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on August 03, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)

Regardless, she encouraged her teammates to go ahead and ace it.

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“I just felt like it would be a bit better to take a back seat, to work on my mindfulness, and I knew the girls would do an absolute great job. And I didn’t want to risk the team a medal,” said Biles.

She did, however, win a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Before that, she had already won one Silver. Regardless of her tally, Biles is happy and content with her performance. However, fans now wonder, will she perform at the 2024 Paris Olympics?

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Richa Goswami

52 articles

Richa Goswami is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. As an adherent learner, she uses her journalistic persona to navigate through new skills. Richa has completed her schooling at Don Bosco.

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