Simone Biles has spoken about the pressure of expectation as the greatest gymnast of all time

Tuesday - 27/07/2021 12:38
Simone Biles of Team United States looks on during the Women's Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Source:Getty Images
Simone Biles of Team United States looks on during the Women's Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Source:Getty Images
Simone Biles, who has pulled out of the Olympics citing mental health issues, hinted at her struggles a day ago in a revealing Instagram post.

Simone Biles is not just a great gymnast — she is the greatest gymnast of all time.

At just 24 years old she has won every single all-round competition she’s been in since 2013 and has a record 25 world medals. That’s not even mentioning her swag of four Olympic gold medals.
 

Simone Biles poses with her gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Simone Biles poses with her gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.Source:Getty Images

 

However, she has been open about her mental health struggles, which were exacerbated when the covid pandemic pushed the Tokyo Olympic Games out by a year.

When her training was paused in March last year, Biles says she felt “all the emotions”.

“Angry, sad, upset, happy, annoyed,” she told Glamour. “I got to go through all of it by myself, without anybody telling me what to feel.”

She took time out to be with her boyfriend, NFL star Jonathan Owens.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles)

 

Biles says she was depressed and considered dropping out of the Olympics. Then she finally agreed to see a therapist.

“One of the very first sessions, I didn’t talk at all,” Biles told Glamour. “I just wouldn’t say anything. I was like, ‘I’m not crazy. I don’t need to be here.’”

RELATED: World stunned by Simone Biles’ Olympics drama
 

USA's Simone Biles gestures during the artistic gymnastics women's team final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
USA's Simone Biles gestures during the artistic gymnastics women's team final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Source:AFP

 

“I thought I could figure it out on my own, but that’s sometimes not the case. And that’s not something you should feel guilty or ashamed of,” she said. “Once I got over that fact, I actually enjoyed it and looked forward to going to therapy. It’s a safe space.”

“For a while, I saw a psychologist once every two weeks,” she told Health.com. “That helped me get in tune with myself so that I felt more comfortable and less anxious.”
 

USA's Simone Biles is seen prior to compete in the vault event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
USA's Simone Biles is seen prior to compete in the vault event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Source:AFP

 

For Biles it isn’t just coping with the global pressure of being perhaps the greatest athlete in the word but also unpacking and working through the sexual abuse she experienced at the hands of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, which she says made her want to sleep all the time.

“I feel like in those instances, I was one of the luckier ones because I didn’t get it as bad as some of the other girls I knew,” she told People. “All those years, nobody ever told us what sexual abuse was. So we didn’t really feel like we were going through it or victims.”

“With gymnasts, when you get injured, your heal time is four to six weeks, but then with something so traumatic that happens like this?” said Biles. “There is no four to six weeks, so it’s hard for us to process that. There’s like no time limit or healing time for it, so you just take it day by day.”
 

Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.Source:AFP

 

In 2018, Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing women and girls as a doctor at Michigan State University and for USA Gymnastics.

Just a day ago, Biles opened up on feeling the ‘weight of the world” on her shoulders in Tokyo.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles)


Biles contributed to her team’s struggles with a slew of uncharacteristic errors. In the floor routine, she finished in second place after falling off the mat and going out of bounds following a tumbling pass. She finished seventh in balance beam after requiring extra steps to finish.
 

Simone Biles of Team United States stumbles upon landing after competing in vault during the Women's Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Simone Biles of Team United States stumbles upon landing after competing
in vault during the Women's Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Source:Getty Images

 

Then, Biles withdrew during the opening routine on vault with what USA Gymnastics called “a medical issue.”

The four-time gold medallist left the floor with a trainer and returned with a wrapped right leg minutes later.

However, Biles told the US Today Show that her withdrawal wasn’t due to a physical injury, though emotionally, it was clear the pressure of the Olympics so far had taken a toll.

“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” she told Hoda Kotb. “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”
 

Simone Biles of Team United States is embraced by coach Cecile Landi during the Women's Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Simone Biles of Team United States is embraced by coach Cecile Landi
during the Women's Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Source:Getty Images

 

The Americans entered the Games as odds-on favourites, touted as perhaps the best gymnastics team in history.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) ended the United States women’s pursuit of a third straight team gymnastics gold medal.

The US team — made up of Biles, Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum and Jordan Chiles — was never able to overcome an early Russian lead established after Biles bailed on performing an Amanar vault in mid-air.
 

Sunisa Lee, Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum of Team United States pose for a photo during Women's Podium Training ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Sunisa Lee, Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum of Team
United States pose for a photo during Women's Podium Training ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Source:Getty Images

 

Biles completed a Yurchenko 1 1/2 twist instead with a hard landing and withdrew before the uneven bars.


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