9 Quotes From Simone Biles About Why Mental Health Matters More Than Medals

The 24-year-old star athlete withdrew from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics to focus on her mental health.

Simone Biles reacts after competing on balance beam during Women's Qualification on day two of the T...
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On July 27, Simone Biles withdrew from the women’s gymnastics team finals at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics due to mental health concerns. Powered by Biles cheering from the sidelines, her teammates went on to win a silver medal. Biles later withdrew from the individual all-around competition. Here are nine quotes from the legendary gymnast about the importance of mental health.

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“Put mental health first because if you don’t, then you’re not going to enjoy your sport and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to,” Biles said at an Olympics press conference.

We’re not just athletes. We’re people at the end of the day, and sometimes you just have to step back.

Simone Biles

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“It’s OK sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself. It shows how strong of a competitor and person that you really are, rather than just battle through it.”

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“I have to put my pride aside. I have to do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being. That’s why I decided to take a step back.”


“It’s been really stressful, this Olympic Games. I think just as a whole, not having an audience, there are a lot of different variables going into it. It’s been a long week. It’s been a long Olympic process. It’s been a long year. ... We should be out here having fun, and sometimes that’s not the case.”

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“I don’t trust myself as much anymore. Maybe it’s getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you — and you feel the weight of the world.”

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“I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now,” she said. Biles’ decision to withdraw from the Olympic event follows Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open in May, at which time Osaka also wanted to focus on her mental health.

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“We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day we’re human too. So, we have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.”

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This isn’t the first time Biles has opened up about her mental health. In a 2018 interview with Good Morning America, she explained: “I have my ups and downs. I still go to therapy and I am on anxiety medicine. ... It’s not easy, but the people surrounding me are some of the best.”

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