Champion gymnast Simone Biles shocked the world on Tuesday when she announced that she would be withdrawing from the women’s gymnastic team final. Her announcement came after she appeared to have possibly injured herself on a vault attempt. Simone later clarified that she had not sustained any injury, but was instead withdrawing due to mental health-related concerns.
Following Simone’s decision, the internet erupted with feedback. Many people, including ex-Olympian Michael Phelps, commended Simone for choosing to take care of her wellbeing. Others unfortunately chose to insult and berate Biles via their online presence. As someone who hasn’t practiced gymnastics since my toddler tumbling classes, I for one can not begin to comprehend the pressure and scrutiny these athletes must feel on a daily basis. Donning leotards and doing aerial corkscrews for the whole world to see sounds pretty damn tough.
The United States ended up winning silver in the competition, with their expected gold medal going to the Russian Olympic Committee. The U.S. might as well have just won the damn thing, seeing as the R.O.S. is nothing but Putin’s latest attempt to mask Russia’s massive athlete doping prerogative. It is still unclear whether Simone Biles will compete in Thursday’s individual competitions. As for now, she seems to be focusing on her mental wellness, while supporting her teammates.