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Simone Biles Embarks on 'Career Pivot'

Gymnast partners with mental health company
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2021 2:36 PM CDT
Simone Biles Embarks on 'Career Pivot'
Simone Biles testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Larry Nassar investigation in September.   (Saul Loeb/Pool via AP)

(Newser) – "I'm still scared to do gymnastics." Simone Biles says the anxiety that forced her to withdraw from competition at the Olympics has not retreated. On the Today show Thursday, the gymnast said she's OK doing floor exercises, but she still can't manage to do anything that requires mid-air twisting. "To do something that I’ve done forever and just not be able to do it because of everything I’ve gone through is really crazy because I love this sport so much," Biles told the show. "I don’t think people understand the magnitude of what I go through, but for so many years to go through everything that I’ve gone through having a front, I’m proud of myself."

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The appearance coincides with what the Wall Street Journal calls an "unexpected career pivot" for the 24-year-old—becoming an advocate for mental health. For Biles, this will take the form of a new position as "chief impact officer" for a 2-year-old company called Cerebral, which seeks to match people online with therapists and prescribers. The company also ships meds, all part of a push by regulators to make sure insurers provide coverage for mental health issues along with physical ailments. Biles actually had several such companies vying to team up with her. “It’s obviously not what I expected,” she tells the Journal. But it "means a lot to me.” (Read more Simone Biles stories.)

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