Simone Biles withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics team gymnastics competition on Tuesday after an awkward, low-scoring attempt on vault that was far from what Biles fans are used to seeing.
The four-time Olympic gold medalist said afterward she was "not in the right headspace" and decided to step back from the competition so that the U.S. team could reach the podium, which it did with a silver.
It was a shocking development for the star of the Olympics and for fans who woke up in the states to the news. Her family, fellow athletes and more took to social media to voice support for Biles' decision and wish her well going forward. Biles said she will be working on her mental health over the next few days and hopes to be ready to compete in the individual all-around on Thursday.
Her sister, Adria, and brother, Ron, noted the moment on Twitter.
y’all are all about mental health until it no longer benefits you.. i can’t imagine being that inconsiderate WHEWWWW
— Adria Biles (@adria_biles) July 27, 2021
Also everyone please pray for my sister @Simone_Biles She really needs them at this time, and is having a hard time. You’re still GOAT Simone and no one can ever take that away from you!! You’re an amazing woman, talented gymnast, and I know you can bounce from this. 🙏🏾❤️🇺🇸 #ily pic.twitter.com/qhzxqN6Rq0
— RonBilesII (@RonBilesII) July 27, 2021
Aly Raisman, Biles' former teammate at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, told the Today Show that she felt "sick to her stomach" after hearing about Biles' withdrawal.
“I think that Simone is the biggest story going into the Olympics, so this is just — it’s really, really devastating,” Raisman said. “But I think it’s also just really important to think about how much pressure has been on her, and there’s only so much that someone can take. She’s human, and I think sometimes people forget that. And Simone, just like everyone else, is doing the best that she can.”
Another of Biles' 2016 Olympic teammates, Laurie Hernandez, told the Today Show that Biles may have felt like she had to carry the entire team on her shoulders.
"When something like this happens, there's just immense pressure [and] this feeling of, 'I don't want to let my team down,'" Hernandez said.
"There is so much pressure on this woman to go out and to dominate and win the U.S. all these medals," she said of Biles. "At the end of the day, she is a human being. I'm really proud of her."
Former gymnast Kerri Strug knows what it's like to compete in the Olympics when you know you shouldn't. Strug, who won all-around gold with Team USA at the 1996 Olympics after performing her final vault on an injured ankle, sent Biles her love.
Sending love to you @Simone_Biles 🐐❤️-Team UNITED States of America 🇺🇸
— Kerri Strug (@kerristrug96) July 27, 2021
Olympic gold medalists Michael Phelps, who has joined NBC as a swimming analyst, and Cat Osterman, who won silver this week with the softball team in her final Olympics, acknowledged the pressure that goes into the Games.
"We're human beings. Nobody is perfect. So yes, it is okay to not be okay."@MichaelPhelps reacts to the news of Simone Biles pulling out of the women's gymnastics team final. #TokyoOlympics pic.twitter.com/Jl2gmi7ORu
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 28, 2021
— Paresh Dave (@peard33) July 28, 2021
Athletes, politicians, celebrities send support to Biles
Other athletes sent their support to Biles throughout the day on Tuesday.
I’ve been thinking of #SimoneBiles all day. So very sorry she wasn’t feeling her best.
She showed true leadership in taking herself out of competition in order for her team to have a chance to medal. Sending her and the team love & support.
Congratulations to #TeamUSA! 🥈
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) July 27, 2021
I can't imagine the pressure Simone has been feeling. Sending her SO much love. It easy to forget she's still human. WE LOVE YOU.
— Adam Rippon (@AdamRippon) July 27, 2021
Propsss to @naomiosakaa1 and @Simone_Biles for reminding us the importance of taking care of ourselves!! Grateful we get to watch how they’re gonna keep changing the game for future generations in AND outside their sports
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) July 27, 2021
Really proud of @Simone_Biles for having the courage to make such a difficult decision. I encourage everyone to have compassion for her and try to understand the pressure she was dealing with. She’s a human being first and an athlete second. We can all learn from her courage.
— Landon Donovan (@landondonovan) July 27, 2021
Everyone judging @Simone_Biles doesnt know their foot from their asshole when it comes to being in her position.Shes on the Olympic team while you’re on Twitter.Whatever is going on cannot be grasped from outside.She’s doing the absolute best she can given the situation she’s in.
— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) July 27, 2021
As a former player that dealt with anxiety every game, I have the ultimate respect for @Simone_Biles . She truly is the 🐐! You never know what someone is going through. We must end the stigma that if you seek mental help that somehow you are mentally weak. It made me stronger. https://t.co/3MwYtJlUZp
— Skip Schumaker (@SSchumaker55) July 27, 2021
Several politicians also tweeted their best wishes to Simone.
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 27, 2021
Discussing mental health hasn’t ever been easy, especially in the black community.
What @Simone_Biles did is brave and will hopefully facilitate the openness and transparency we’ve needed for generations.
Sending all my love to a Texan making us proud no matter what!#TeamUSA
— Rep. Jasmine Crockett (@jasminefor100) July 27, 2021
I stand with Simone Biles.
I still stand with Naomi Osaka.
Your health and peace matters. You’re reminding Black women that we can take the space we need for ourselves.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) July 27, 2021
— Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (@RepBonnie) July 27, 2021
People go back to their lives after the game is over but these athletes struggling w/ mental health issues don’t get to switch channels. The issues don’t magically disappear. The pressure to be on & perfect all the time is immense. Sending love to @Simone_Biles & others! https://t.co/R54RxL917V
— Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair (@harrisonjaime) July 27, 2021
I love and admire Simone Biles and our Olympians. Beyond their determination and sacrifice, they evidence the greatness of the human spirit, in victory and in defeat. I take pride in them, not so much for the medals they win as for the grace, humanity & character of their hearts.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 27, 2021
.@Simone_Biles is already the most decorated gymnast in American history. She’s a living legend—but she's also a human being.
Today Simone made likely one of the hardest and most courageous decisions of her life. She is an inspiration to us all. pic.twitter.com/4YPVTGrop2
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) July 27, 2021
Actress Kerri Washington sent her support.
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) July 27, 2021
Joy Taylor and Colin Cowherd, co-hosts of FS1's "The Herd," both defended Biles' decision to withdraw and her status as the undisputed GOAT.
Simone Biles is the GOAT. We need to remove the stigma of speaking about your mental health and the value of protecting your peace. pic.twitter.com/BKA9so5IS5
— Joy Taylor (@JoyTaylorTalks) July 27, 2021
"I look at Simone Biles and Michael Phelps. They have pressure that Tom Brady and Michael Jordan never faced... I don't know how they do it. Tip of the cap."
— @ColinCowherd pic.twitter.com/KBtCFOJsIX
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) July 27, 2021
Hoda Kotb of the Today Show spoke with the team in Tokyo after the event. She called Biles a "class act" for her support of her teammates.
Someone said it best. @Simone_Biles already won. She is a class act. Withdrew from team competion after vault... stayed and cheered on her teammates... got them chalk for their hands.. encouraged.. hugged them. She already won. Congrats on the silver medal! @TeamUSA @USAGym
— Hoda Kotb (@hodakotb) July 27, 2021
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