Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles has responded to the extensive support she received after withdrawing from Thursday’s final.
An American fitness coach has come out of the competition saying she needs to prioritize her mental health, an act that has brought fame to the top in sports, entertainment and politics.
The 24-year-old said support had shown her “more than I could have achieved with the gym”.
the outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before. 🤍— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 29, 2021
Biles, a survivor of sexual harassment, spoke to the media after the United States took silver in the group finals following her withdrawal from the event, with the need to “protect our minds and bodies,” adding: “We are human beings, the end of the day.”
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British fitness trainer Max Whitlock has expressed his support, saying: “You push the boundaries too often. Relax and take your time.”
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba wrote on Twitter in support of Biles, saying his decision to withdraw was “a moment of undeniable power”.
Famous American pop singer Justin Bieber, who also cut short his world tour in 2017 citing anxiety and fatigue, said he was proud of the athlete for her decision.
“No one will ever understand the pressures you face!” posted to Instagram.
“People thought I was crazy about not completing the Journey journey but it was the best thing I could have done with my mental health !! I’m proud of you Simone Biles,” he continued.
Susan Rice, senior adviser to President Joe Biden, also tweeted his praise, saying: “Thank you to #GOAT Simone Biles for reminding us that mental health is a priority.”
Sylvester Turner, mayor of her hometown of Houston, also praised Texas.
“It’s more than just gains and exercise,” he said. “You’re an amazing person. If you never dance, investigate, or open unequal barriers you’ll be an American and international champion. Just have fun!”
Biles has yet to confirm whether she will compete in the equipment final, which starts on Sunday, saying she will take “each day as it comes”.