Gymnasts and Celebrities are Supporting Simone Biles’ Decision to Prioritize Her Mental Health

Photo credit: Jamie Squire - Getty Images

Photo credit: Jamie Squire – Getty Images

On Wednesday, Olympic champion, Simone Biles announced she will not be competing in tomorrow’s individual all-around competition after previously withdrawing from the team gymnastics final on Monday. In a statement from USA Gymnastics, they explained that Simone has made the decision to “focus on her mental health.”

Following the announcement, olympians and celebrities alike have publicly shared their support for the gymnast and her decision to prioritize her mental health. Here is what everyone had to say:

Aly Raisman

Gold medalist and Simone’s former teammate Aly Raisman spoke to Today after she dropped out of the team competition. “I feel sick to my stomach,” Aly said about the situation. “It’s just horrible.”

“I know that all of these athletes dream of this moment for their whole entire lives, and I’m just completely devastated,” she said. “I am obviously so worried and just hoping that Simone is OK. I am also just thinking about the mental impact this has to have on Simone. It’s just so much pressure and I’ve been watching how much pressure has been on her the months leading up to the games and it’s just devastating. I feel horrible.”

She continued, saying, “I think it’s also really important to think about how much pressure has been on her and there’s only so much someone can take. She’s human and I think sometimes people forget that. Simone, just like everyone else is doing the best that she can.”

Aly spoke about the media pressure that has been placed on Simone for the past few months leading up to the games. “I think sometimes people forget, Simone is human,” she said. “She has pains like all of us. She has stress like all of us. And Simone has more pressure than anything other gymnast I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. It’s insane how much pressure is on her.”

Aly later tweeted out a simple message to her former teammate:

Laurie Hernandez

Another former teammate of Simone’s, Laurie Hernandez, took to Twitter to recognize the pressure on Simone and her teammates. “We need to talk about the amount of pressure on these three ladies,” she wrote. “What an AWESOME bar rotation!! absolutely smashed it. and jordan??? ok miss underdog you show em what you can do.”

She later retweeted a fan account that tweeted, “[The US gymnastics team] did not lose gold they WON silver.”

Uzo Aduba

The actress retweeted a message of support to Simone, adding, “Yes. This is what a champion looks like. So proud of #SimoneBiles and the entire gymnastics team. How lucky we are to have you all as our Team USA.”

Andy Cohen

Adam Rippon

Former olympic skater, Adam Rippon, tweeted, “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.”

Kerry Washington

Amanda Gorman

The inaugural poet also shared her thoughts on Twitter, commenting on Simone’s work to hold Larry Nassar accountable for his former crimes while on the US Women’s National Gymnastics Team. “The GOAT @Simone_Biles having to sit out–because a man is not held accountable to do the same-is shameful,” she wrote. “Biles still cheering on her teammates, even while taking care of herself, is one of the many graces that make her a true champion, forever & always. We love u Simone.”

Michelle Obama

Hoda Kotb

The Today host, who is currently in Tokyo covering the games, tweeted, “@Simone_Biles already won. She is a class act. Withdrew from team competition 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!”

Christian Siriano

Sarah Hirshland

Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee, wrote a statement on Twitter, praising Simone’s decision. “Simone, you’ve made us so proud,” she wrote. “Proud of who you are as a person, teammate and athlete. 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.”

Linda Barclay

The President and CEO of the National Gymnastics Association told Buzzfeed, “Simone’s choice to step back for her health is as trailblazing as her gymnastics. The most overlooked issue regarding mental health in the sport of gymnastics is acknowledging it exists, and that mental and emotional well being can put an athlete in a position to succeed or fail. Good health and personal success goes well beyond an athlete’s career.”

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