Simone Biles Tokyo 2020

July 28, 2021
Simone Biles Tokyo 2020

So it just turns into this never-ending cycle of insecurity compared with pressure to bring certain outcomes. And if you endure that for years … you can imagine that sometimes the mind just breaks down and can’t take it anymore.

Sports psychologist for Intermountain Healthcare Dr. Tony Kemmochi on the pressures faced by athletes, while discussing U.S. gymnast Simone Biles’ recent withdrawal.
  • On Tuesday evening, 24-year-old Simone Biles, the most decorated United States' women's gymnast – also known as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) – dropped out of the women's gymnastics team final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
    • After taking herself out of the all-around competition and the U.S. team going on to win silver, Biles said: "… I've just never felt like this going into a competition before … Once I came out here [to compete], I was like, 'No mental's not there, so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.'" She also noted that she "didn't want to risk the team a medal … because they've worked way too hard for that."
  • In a statement released Wednesday, USA Gymnastics announced that Biles decided to withdraw from the individual all-around competition on Thursday "in order to focus on her mental health." Biles has not yet decided if she will participate in next week's individual event finals.

Big Picture: Biles' decision to withdraw due to mental health concerns has drawn widespread support along with some criticism. Earlier this year, tennis player Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open citing mental health concerns. Retired Olympic swimmer Micheal Phelps has also spoken about his mental health struggles, as have others. As the world waits to see if Biles will compete next week, her decision to withdraw from this week's competition is making an impact on the ongoing discussion of mental health in sports.

Click HERE to read what Biles said after the competition on Tuesday.

Olympic champ Biles withdraws from all-around competition

by Jenna Lee,