‘Thank you for prioritising your mental health’ — the world cheers on as Simone Biles gracefully withdraws from the Women’s Gymnastics Team Final at Tokyo Olympics 2020. She did so to focus on her mental health, something that is being seen as a beacon of hope in a world where a lot of people are feeling a toll on their mental health.
I have been seriously struggling mentally and feeling all kinds of paralyzing anxiety. Yesterday @Simone_Biles reminded me I was human and to be kind to myself.
— Ashley Kincaid Eve (@AbolitionAshley) July 28, 2021
The conversation, which is overwhelmingly positive for mental health, is growing since. People have been sharing their stories of struggle, emphasising how her stance was both brave and inspiring.
If @Simone_Biles had a physical injury folks would understand her not competing, but because we don’t regard mental wellness in the same way some expect her to keep going in spite of what she’s feeling. I’m glad she’s choosing her wellness over the Olympics! #SimoneBiles pic.twitter.com/cLlwUJk2Nz
— TED WINN (@officialtedwinn) July 28, 2021
Addressing the media later, Simone Biles said that she felt it was better for her to take a step back as she didn’t want to do something silly out there and get injured. She thought it would be best if the girls took over and did the rest of the job — which they did — they are Olympics silver medalists now. She said, beaming with pride.
“It’s been really stressful, these Olympics games, just as I think as a whole. Not having an audience, it’s been a long week, a long Olympics process, a long year — just a lot of different variables and I think it’s been a little bit too stressed out. We should be out here having fun but that is sometimes not the case,” Simone said.
So she took a step back to work on her mindfulness rather than going in and risking the team a medal. She expressed the importance of putting one’s mental health first. “It’s okay sometimes to sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself because it shows how strong a competitor, a person you really are, rather than just battling through it,” she concluded.