The 2021 Summer Olympic Games have been difficult for a number of athletes, but few athletes have faced more of an uphill battle than Simone Biles. After becoming an American superstar during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil, Biles was asked to provide a statement regarding the abuse she suffered at the hands of former doctor Larry Nassar. Then, she had to endure the ups and downs of a murder trial involving her brother Tevin Biles-Thomas. Not to mention, she had to stay mentally and athletically sharp for an extra year as the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start of the Tokyo Olympics. While she was able to push forward to fulfill her business obligations and qualify for the 2021 Summer Olympic Games, it has become clear that she was not her best self. As a result, she made the tough decision to step away from Olympic competition indefinitely.
"I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being," Biles said.
Immediately after deciding to step away from both team and individual competitions, Biles rushed to the sidelines to support her teammates. However, Biles showing support for her teammates was not enough for the likes of Charlie Kirk, Clay Travis and Piers Morgan who took issue with the gymnast's personal decision.
"We are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles," conservative pundit Charlie Kirk said.
In contrast, more accomplished public figures rushed to support Biles and praised her for prioritizing her mental health over an athletic competition. Michelle Obama, Janet Jackson, Viola Davis and several others posted supportive messages online throughout the day.
Above all else, Biles' current and former teammates were quick to jump to her defense. Former Olympian Aly Raisman appeared on several television shows throughout the day to speak about her friend's decision and discussed the impact an athlete's mental state can have during an Olympic competition.