The best (and worst) reactions to Simone Biles’ withdrawal from the Olympics

American gymnast Simone Biles has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics’ all-around competition due mental health risks. Her announcement came just a day after stepping down from the women’s team finals when she took an uncharacteristic stumble on a vault landing. 

The sudden news shocked the world, especially since Biles was a favorite to win in both the team and individual gymnastics competitions. However, even before everyone has a chance to get their bearings, everyday fans and spectators took to social media praising Biles for her bravery.


Though a few people are far less impressed with Biles’s decision. Some have taken the offensive, blame her for the US losing to Russia and accusing her of cowardice and selfishness. While others struggle to understand her decision and feel that she has let them down. 

In response to the hate, fellow gymnasts are explaining the serious dangers of their sport. Retired olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu shares insights on how meaningful it was for Biles to say NO. Even her teammate Sunisa Lee shows her support. 

The debate has also sparked a new conversation on the value of self-love. And celebrities from all walks of life are putting in their two cents on the topic. Everyone from Michelle Obama to Justin Bieber are talking about the importance of mental health, some even sharing their own struggles with public pressure.   

Whatever your opinion, everyone can agree that Biles has set a new standard for Olympic athletes. Her decision marks a huge step towards giving mental health the space it deserves in Olympic circles. By withdrawing when she needed to, Biles has redefined the meaning of success for Olympians. 

See also: 9 Hong Kong athletes to follow at the Tokyo Olympics

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