US Olympic CEO: 'Simone, You've Made Us So Proud'

Gymnast widely praised for putting her wellbeing first
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2021 8:02 PM CDT
US Olympic CEO: 'Simone, You've Made Us So Proud'
United States' artistic gymnastics women's team members, from left, Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, and Simone Biles celebrate on the podium after winning the silver medal in the artistic women's team the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

After her stunning withdrawal from the women's team gymnastics final in Tokyo Tuesday, Simone Biles is being widely praised for making a tough decision under immense pressure. Biles, the most decorated gymnast in the world, said she was mentally unprepared to continue after a shaky performance on the vault. She said she didn't want to jeopardize her own mental and physical wellbeing or end up costing the team a medal, the Guardian reports. Without the 24-year-old star, Team USA managed to hang on for silver, and teammates praised her in a late-night press conference. "This medal was definitely for her because if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t be here where we are right now," said Jordan Chiles. "We wouldn’t be silver Olympic medalists because of who she is as a person. So kudos to you, girlie, this is all for you!"

Biles said that years ago, she might have risked injury and tried to compete despite mental health struggles. "Today it’s like, you know what, no, I don't want to do something stupid and get hurt,” she said, per the New York Times. Her next event is Thursday and she said she plans to take things "a day at a time" before deciding whether to compete. "Simone, you’ve made us so proud," tweeted US Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland. "We applaud your decision to prioritize your mental wellness over all else." Fellow gymnasts and athletes from other sports praised Biles and said they understood the pressure she was under. "Don't know about you but I think Simone Biles just empowered everyone to put their mental wellbeing above everything else," said Jamaica gymnast Danusia Francis, per the BBC. "What a queen. GOAT in more ways than one." (Read more Simone Biles stories.)

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