Simone Biles' brave decision
Simone Biles will not defend her Olympic titles at Tokyo 2020 to take care of her mental health.
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Simone Biles will not defend her Olympic champion titles at Tokyo 2020. She announced her withdrawal to take care of her mental health. Before, media around the world were announcing her victory due to Biles' dominance over her competitors, but she will not be there this time.
Only two gymnasts have reached Biles' heights before. Larysa Latinina of the Soviet Union who won in Melbourne 56 and Rome 60, and tCzech Vera Caslavska wwon in Tokyo 64 and Mexico 68. But in this case, the medals are an afterthought: the respect and admiration of the elite sport that values one's decision to put their mental health ahead of sporting success and the rest of society.
“We wholeheartedly support Simone's decision and applaud the courage she has taken from her in putting her well-being first. Her courage shows, once again, why she is a reference and a model for so many people,” said the United States Federation.
The day before the announcement, Biles decided to withdraw from the team final because she felt lost during a vault jump.
Biles had already announced on her Instagram account that she felt she was carrying the weight of the whole world on her shoulders, a very hard experience.
She later said that since her arrival in Tokyo, she had become more and more stressed and was shaking so much before the competitions that she could not rest. According to The New York Times, Biles told her coach: “I can't go on. I am not in the necessary mental conditions.”
Given the demands of the sport, a small mistake can result in a serious injury, which Biles wanted to avoid.
Her replacement will be Jade Carey, along with Sunisa Lee. Carey had run out of place in the final because there can only be two gymnasts per country. Biles has yet to decide if she will compete in four more events: colt, asymmetrical, ground and balance beam. So far, she has announced her withdrawal from two finals.
Competitive sport has reached the point where professionals cannot complete their careers without the help of a team of psychologists.
Biles, far from being a fragile person, won four gold medals and one bronze at Rio 2016. Her decision not to attend the finals after almost fiv3 years of preparation opens a debate on the limits of elite sport.
At the last Olympics, Biles nearly fell off the balance beam where she placed third. After her announcement in Tokyo, she said she was frustrated for having disappointed all the people who trusted that she would win. Many media accused her of betraying her companions and of being fearful in a wave of racism and machismo.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Biles suffered, like many of her companions, the sexual abuse of the doctor of the American federation team, Larry Nassar, throughout her childhood and adolescence.
Despite this, she won gold at Rio four times. She also suffered kidney stones at a previous world championships that she won.
The call to succeed Biles, the Brazilian Rebeca Andrade, recently explained that since she was 13 years old, she's needed the support of a psychologist because every injury to her left her on the brink of depression.
Also, sprinter Trayvon Brommell, who tore his Achilles heel in the 2016 games, said two years later after coming to the sport thinking that he would save his life, it made him lose everything. In Tokyo 2020, he now seeks to be the successor of the Jamaican Usain Bolt.