Biles is back: Fellow Olympians urge self-care, self-confidence

Japan 2020

Simone Biles, of the United States, waits to perform on the vault during the artistic gymnastics women’s final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo. The American gymnastics superstar has withdrawn the vault and uneven bars to focus on her mental well-being. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

TOKYO (NEXSTAR) — After stepping away from competition to focus on her mental health, Simone Biles will be back in play this week.

Biles is expected to compete in the individual balance beam final Tuesday. Also competing will be Suni Lee, who helped Team USA win a silver medal in the team competition and earned gold in the individual all-around.

Biles said the she was plagued by “the twisties” in pulling out of the team competition, all-around, vault, uneven bars and floor competition, saying she didn’t trust her spatial awareness.

She isn’t the only athlete in Tokyo who has dealt with issues of mental health. Weightlifter Kate Nye and shot putter Raven Saunders, both of whom won silver in Tokyo, have been open about their struggles and journey. Both offered words of encouragement to Biles:

“Give it everything you’ve got. Don’t worry about anything that anyone has to say,” Saunders, of Charleston, South Carolina, said. “You’re the best. You’re the G.O.A.T.”

“It’s OK to feel your feelings and it’s OK to be human,” Nye, of metro Detroit, said. “I know a lot of people put pressure on us as athletes to just perform and do what we do for everyone else’s entertainment. But when it comes down to it, you as a person matter more than any other people’s expectations.”

Biles won bronze on the balance beam in Rio in 2016. She’ll use the event for one last shot at gold in Tokyo.

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