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Simone Biles Praised By Michelle Obama And Celebrities After Pulling Out Of Olympic Events

Widely recognized as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, Simone Biles has been inundated with messages of support from fellow athletes and celebrities after she retired from Olympic events to focus on her mental health.

On Tuesday, the fourth day of the Games, Biles attended the all-round team event, representing Team USA before leaving the competition halfway due to a “medical problem”.

She later returned to the gym in a team tracksuit to cheer on her teammates and joined them on the podium as they won silver medals. The Russian Olympic Committee won gold and Great Britain bronze.

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A day later, Biles announced that she would also not be competing in the individual all-around competition, which was widely expected to win her consecutive Olympics – the first for a woman since the sixties – and set records in the process. The 24-year-old announced that due to her mental health, she had decided to suspend the events for the past two days.

Great Olympic athletes are often treated as performers for our entertainment and are believed to have almost superhuman qualities with little acknowledgment that they are exposed to the same pressures, stresses and struggles as the rest of us. It’s a topic that Biles’ Olympian colleague Naomi Osaka has been talking about in recent months after she pulled out of press interviews at the French Open on the grounds of protecting her mental health.

Biles and Osaka’s mental health discussions are now being lauded by other athletes and celebrities who are similarly exposed to public pressure and interference.

After Biles said goodbye to the events, athletes, actors and politicians praised the athlete:

Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States

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Aly Raisman, former Team USA gymnast and Olympic champion

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Max Whitlock, Team GB gymnast and Rio 2016 gold medalist

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Michael Phelps, former Olympic champion and swimmer for Team USA

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Cori Bush, Congressman

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Adam Rippon, former figure skater

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Billie Jean King, former tennis champion

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Uzo Aduba, actor

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Rosanna Arquette, actress

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Greg Rutherford, former Team GB long jump gold medalist

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Helen Richardson-Walsh, Team GB ice hockey player and 2016 Olympic champion

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Danusia Francis, British-Jamaican gymnast who represents Jamaica in Tokyo

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Ellen DeGeneres, talk show host

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Billy Eichner, comedian and actor

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Chelsea Handler, comedian

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Ronda Rousey, MMA and UFC fighter

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Andy Cohen, talk show host

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After winning Team USA’s silver medal, Biles spoke of her decision at a press conference and said, “I say mental health comes first because if you don’t, you won’t enjoy your sport or be as successful as you would like it to be it’s sometimes okay to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself because it shows how strong you really are as a competitor and person instead of just fighting your way through. ‘

Simone Galle Olympia

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When USA Gymnastics confirmed on Wednesday that Biles would also suspend the individual event, they made the following statement on Twitter:

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It remains to be seen whether the athlete will compete in the individual equipment competitions later in the tournament. Biles previously said that she makes her decisions every day.


Digital News Editor
Olivia is the digital news editor for ELLE, covering pop culture, royal, lifestyle and women’s news and features.

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