Olympic star is back – and is about to get a medal
US gymnast Simone Biles made her mental problems public – and was celebrated by stars like Michelle Obama. Now she’s back.
Simone Biles (24) is back – and is about to get a medal in Tokyo. The gymnast, who initially withdrew from the Olympic Games due to mental problems, now started on the balance beam. Biles won the bronze medal with 14,000 points. Gold and silver went to the Chinese women Guan Chenchen (16) and Tang Xijing (18). The US Gymnastics Federation announced Biles’ participation only 24 hours before the final.
Simone Biles had canceled the team final after the first of four exercises and announced a break. The athlete, who is considered by many observers to be the best gymnast of all time, had suspended the competitions in the individual and all-around finals and the decisions on the jump, on the uneven bars and on the floor.
Attention to mental health
Biles cited mental problems as the reason for her withdrawal after the association first spoke of medical causes. “My mind and body are just out of sync,” she wrote. She spoke of “twisties”, as in gymnastics in the USA mental blocks during exercises and difficulties with orientation when screws in the air are called.
For her openness and the courage to make her mental problems public, Biles received wide approval, including from former first lady Michelle Obama (57) and ex-swimming star Michael Phelps (39), who was struggling with depression.
Speaking of mental health in sports, Biles himself said: “I think there should be a lot more talking about mental health, especially with athletes, because I know some of us go through the same thing and we are always told to bite through, but we can speak for ourselves. After all, we’re not just entertainment. “