Center for American Progress

I used to be an elite athlete. I relate to Simone Biles’s struggle
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I used to be an elite athlete. I relate to Simone Biles’s struggle

In light of Simone Biles' withdrawal from the gymnastics team final in Tokyo, author Mia Ives-Rublee stresses the need to put athletes' mental well-being first.

Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast in history, made a life-changing choice on Tuesday: She withdrew from the finals of the team competition, putting her own wellbeing first. Her team went on without her, winning silver as the Russian team took the gold. She told members of the media: “I’d just never felt like this going into a competition before and I tried to go out there and have fun… but once I came out here, I was like: No, the mental’s not there, so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.”

Biles, who posted to Instagram earlier in the competition that she felt the “weight of the world” on her shoulders, showed significant strain during her most recent performance. But, along with all the achievements and medals she’s acquired during her legendary career, this moment — the best in the world putting her mental wellbeing first, saying openly “It’s been really stressful these Olympic Games” may be her most defining one, showing others the importance of self-care.

The above excerpt was originally published in CNN. Click here to view the full article.

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Mia Ives-Rublee

Director, Disability Justice Initiative