Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, commended Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from the women’s team gymnastics final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Tuesday over mental health concerns.
“Simone, you’ve made us so proud. Proud of who you are as a person, teammate and athlete,” Hirshland said in a statement.
“We applaud your decision to prioritize your mental wellness over all else, and offer you the full support and resources of our Team USA community as you navigate the journey ahead.”
What we know: Biles withdrew midway through the women’s team finals after leaving the field to be attended to. After visiting a trainer, Biles returned to the arena, but did not warm up for uneven bars. Instead, 20-year-old Jordan Chiles took Biles’ place.
From the sidelines, Biles supported her teammates — chatting with them and cheering after each routine. Biles was a lively presence, jumping up and down in support of her teammates.
The four-time Olympic gold medalist later explained her decision.
“Whenever you get in a high stress situation, you kind of freak out,” the 24-year-old told reporters. “I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being.”
“It just sucks when you’re fighting with your own head,” she added.