SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Simone Biles will not defend her Olympic title. She has withdrawn from the 2020 games citing mental health issues.
Mental Health awareness has become a topic of discussion in the last year and a half, and having those open conversations health experts say is critical. USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Wednesday that 24-year-old Simone Biles is opting to not compete to focus on her mental well-being.
The decision comes a day after Biles removed herself from the team final following one rotation because she felt she wasn’t mentally ready. She posted on social media on Monday that she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. Social media reacted very positively to the news saying that Biles was strong to have admitted how she was feeling.
Kim Lee, vice president of the Mental Health Association stated, “Just as Simone did, and just as Naomi did and just as Michael Phelps has done. It’s important to recognize the fact that strength comes with starting a conversation and being aware of how you’re feeling emotionally and taking all of those necessary steps to engage all the right people in your life.”
Biles will be evaluated daily before deciding if she will participate in next week’s individual events. Biles qualified for the finals on all four apparatuses, something she didn’t even do during her five-medal haul in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.