Tearful Simone Biles breaks down on TV as she discusses mental health and stunt troubles
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Four-time Olympic Gold medalist Simone Biles was reduced to tears as she opened up about her struggles in an emotionally charged television interview. Biles, 24, withdrew from five events in Tokyo this summer, citing mental health problems.
She did compete in the individual beam final and took Bronze, which tied her with Larisa Latynina of the Soviet Union for the most medals won by a female gymnast of all time, with 32 combined in World and Olympic competitions.
However, since the Olympics, she’s admitted to being plagued by the ‘twisties’, meaning a reluctance to do stunts that involve twisting in mid-air.
Biles is currently taking part in the Gold Over America Tour, which has been billed as a celebration of powerful female athletes and involves shows all over the US, and was frank when asked if her phobia of the move was affecting her.
“To do something that I’ve done forever and just not be able to do it because of everything I’ve gone through is really crazy because I love this sport so much,” she said on the Today show.
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“It’s hard. I’m sorry. And I don’t think people understand the magnitude of what I go through, but for so many years to go through everything that I’ve gone through having a front, I’m proud of myself.”
International teammates Jordan Chiles, MyKayla Skinner, Jade Carey, and Grace McCallum are also on the tour, and Biles told host Hoda Kotb that it had been tough to see them perform mid-air moves with twists so regularly.
“And I’m happy I can be a leader for the survivors and bring courage to everybody speaking up, so I’m happy to be a voice for them. But we go trough our own things. It’s hard.
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“The twisting once I got back will come back, but I’m still scared of gymnastics.
“It does kind of suck because I worked really, really hard for that, and it’s just hard.”
Biles also revealed that hiding her torment from the the sexual assault she endured at the hands of former USA team doctor and convicted sex offender Larry Nassar, had caught up with her in Japan this summer.
“Over the years, after supressing so many emotions and putting up a front a global scene, I think all of that came to light and my body and my mind allowed me to supress all of that stuff for so many years, for as long as it could take.
“And as soon as we stepped onto the Olympic scene, it just decided it couldn’t do it anymore and it cracked, and that’s what happens.
“And that’s why taking care of your mental well-being and mental health is so important, so that something like that doesn’t happen.”
In 2018, Nassar, 58, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for multiple sex crimes, with numerous American gymnasts among his victims.
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