The Most Heartwarming Reactions To Simone Biles Withdrawing From The Olympic Finals

simone biles withdraws from olympics
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This week, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles announced she was withdrawing from the gymnastics competition at the Toyko Games, initially citing a “medical issue.” USA Gymnastics later clarified that the 24-year-old was not dealing with a physical injury, but rather needed time to prioritize her mental health.

“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health,” the organization said in a statement on Wednesday. “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

After becoming the most decorated American gymnast and deemed by many as the “GOAT” (aka greatest of all time), it’s not exactly surprising that Biles would feel overwhelmed by the pressure put on her. She is the only publicly known sexual assault survivor of formr coach Larry Nassar who continues to compete in gymnastics and has said that she is returning to the Olympics to be a voice for survivors, which is surely adding to her mental load.

Biles’ withdrawal from the Games has prompted a public discussion about the importance of mental health, both within competitive sports and the world at large. “I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times,” Biles wrote in an Instagram post just one day before she announced her withdrawal. “I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard.” 

Unfortunately, Biles’ decision drew criticism from commentators who implied she should suck it up and compete, but for the most part, the gymnast has received an outpouring of love and support from fans, fellow athletes, and celebrities. The overwhelming take: Biles, like other athletes, is human and does not owe us anything, especially when it comes to damaging her well-being.

Here are some of the best reactions to Simone Biles’ departure from the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Aly Raisman

Fellow USA Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman took to Twitter to slam critics of Biles while showing her support. “Just a friendly reminder: Olympic athletes are human & they’re doing the best they can,” she wrote. “It’s REALLY hard to peak at the right moment & do the routine of your life under such pressure. Really hard.

Janet Jackson

Music icon Janet Jackson also showed her support for Biles, tweeting a photo of the gymnast and writing: “Sending luv and prayers to you. Putting your mental health 1st IS putting you 1st. I stand with you.”

Michelle Obama

Former First Lady Michelle Obama shared her daily mantra with Biles. “Am I good enough? Yes, I am. The mantra I practice daily,” Obama said via Twitter. “@Simone_Biles, we are proud of you and we are rooting for you. Congratulations on the the silver medal, Team @USA!”

Michael Phelps

It’s safe to say that the most decorated Olympian in history speaks from experience when he says he understands gymnast Biles’ decision. “This is an opportunity for all of us to really learn more about mental health, to all help each other out,” he told TODAY. He added that he knows Biles runs the risk of getting injured if she competes while dealing with some mental struggles. “I hope this is an opportunity for us to jump on board, and to even blow this mental health thing even more wide open. It is so much bigger than we can ever imagine.”

Kerry Washington

Scandal actress Kerry Washington commended Biles for her courage saying, “It takes the strength, power and bravery of a CHAMPION to put your health first. @Simone_Biles, we love you. Thank you.”

Dale Moss

“People fail to realize that these world class athlete’s are humans and have the same emotions and struggles as everyone else,” the Special Olympics Global Ambassador and former Bachelorette contestant tweeted. He added that her courageous decision would also give her team the best chance to win.

Kavitha K. Davidson

The sports writer shared a solid reminder for those criticizing Biles’ decision: This make her no less tough, and her past achievements only prove that further.

Justin Bieber

The singer shared his words of support, noting that he, too, has had to prioritize his mental health over work. “When what you normally love starts to steal your joy it’s important we take a step back to evaluate why,” Bieber wrote in an Instagram post. “People thought I was crazy for not finishing the purpose tour but it was the best thing I could have done for my mental health!! So proud of you @simonebiles.”

Hoda Kotb

In a heartwarming tweet, Today show host Hoda Kotb said that Simone Biles “already won.” “She is a class act,” the post continues. “Withdrew from team competion after vault… stayed and cheered on her teammates… got them chalk for their hands.. encouraged.. hugged them. She already won. Congrats on the silver medal! @TeamUSA@USAGym.”

Rachel Luba

The sports marketing agent and former gymnast tweeted that Biles “took a stand for every little girl out there who has held back tears, pretended not to be injured, in pain, and mentally suffering, and had to put on a brave face and do just one more routine for their coach.”

Laverne Cox

“Prioritizing your mental health is probably the most courageous thing you’ve done,” the actress tweeted directly to Biles. “You are enough. You have enough. You’ve done enough, more than enough.”

Glennon Doyle

“God I love a woman who will abandon the world’s expectations before she’ll ever abandon herself,” the author tweeted, and we couldn’t agree more.

Saint Hoax

And finally, for a good laugh…

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