Simone Biles has said she would not wish her 2021 Olympics struggles ‘on anyone’ but nevertheless ‘wouldn’t change anything for the world.’
The 24-year-old American struggled with ‘the twisties’ and had to withdraw from a number of events in Tokyo while she wrestled with her mental health.
It drew criticism from some quarters but the majority of athletes and observers were supporters, and she was ultimately able to return to win bronze in the balance beam, and also secured a silver medal with the US team.
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Speaking to the AP, Biles explained that she thinks the episode that took hold was something that had been coming for some time.
“I feel like it was probably a build-up on things over the past years that maybe I have suppressed,” she began.
“I mean, I’m in therapy, I go to therapy pretty religiously and it's just something that took hold of me because your body and your mind tells you when enough is enough, and I just think that’s unfortunately when it happened.”
Despite controversy and criticism it attracted, as well as her inability to take part in the full range of competition, she nevertheless views the events as a positive.
“I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, obviously. But I wouldn't change anything for the world because I also did so good, and gave an outlet for athletes to speak up about their mental health, and their well-being, and learn that you can put yourself first before the athlete, and I think Naomi [Osaka] is very inspirational in that matter.”
Biles also explained that much of the positive reaction to her withdrawal and explanation for her struggles meant a great deal to her.
“The reaction has been absolutely amazing, it’s been overwhelming,” she said.
“It’s been so supportive, it’s been so loving, which I really wasn't expecting. Especially compared to 2016, the success I had then. The success I had versus this Olympics.”
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