Simone Biles says ‘I have to focus on my mental health’ after pulling out of team final

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles said “I have to focus on my mental health” after pulling out of the women’s gymnastics team final.

The American left the arena after the vault, but later returned to support her team-mates as they claimed silver behind the Russian Olympic Committee.

Biles, 24, scored 13.766 – her lowest Olympic vault score – before withdrawing from the event.

“After the performance I did, I just didn’t want to go on,” she said.

“I have to focus on my mental health. I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now.

“We have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.

“I don’t trust myself as much anymore. Maybe it’s getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world.

“We’re not just athletes. We’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back.

“I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and get hurt. ​I feel like a lot of athletes speaking up has really helped.

“It’s so big, it’s the Olympic Games. At the end of the day we don’t want to be carried out of there on a stretcher.”

In May, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open to protect her mental health, a move publicly supported by several sportspeople including heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and basketball player Stephen Curry.

Biles is the most successful US gymnast of all time, and winner of four gold medals and a bronze at Rio 2016.

The 30-time Olympic and World Championship medallist needs four podium finishes in Tokyo to become the most decorated gymnast – male or female – in history.

She has reached all five individual finals and is undecided on whether she will compete in her next event on Thursday, when she will attempt to become the first woman to retain the Olympic all-around title since 1968.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.