Simone Biles admitted she should have stepped away from the Olympic program “long before” the Tokyo Games.
Biles retired from five of her six finals at the July Olympics to focus on her mental health after suffering from a phenomenon known as twisties that affected her spatial awareness during competition.
The 24-year-old, who was to add to the four gold medals she won at Rio 2016, revealed in 2018 that she was one of the American gymnasts abused by team doctor Larry Nassar, who is currently serving a life sentence. in prison. Earlier this month, during testimony at a Senate committee hearing on the FBI’s handling of the Nassar case, she revealed just how much the burden of being a victim of sexual abuse had increased the pressure she felt in Tokyo.
“If you look at everything I’ve been through over the past seven years, I should never have made another Olympic team,” she said in an interview with New York Magazine. “I should have quit long before Tokyo, when Larry Nassar was in the media for two years. It was too much.
“But I wasn’t going to let him take something I’ve worked for since I was six. I wasn’t going to let him take that joy away from me. So I got past that for as long as my mind and body would allow.
Biles had seen a therapist in the run-up to the Olympics and said anxiety set in when he arrived in Tokyo. Explaining her need to retreat from events following the twisties, she said: “Say up to 30 you have your full sight (then) one morning you wake up you can’t see shit , but people tell you to go on and do your daily job as if you still have eyesight.
“You would be lost, wouldn’t you?” It’s the only thing I can relate to. I have been doing gymnastics for 18 years. I woke up – I lost it. How am I supposed to continue my day? “
The 19-time world champion returned home from the revamped Games with bronze on beam, in addition to silver in the team competition.
In the interview, Biles also pointed out the additional expectations for him due to his race. “As a black woman we just have to be taller,” she said.
“Because even when we break records and all that, they almost lower it, like it’s totally normal. “
Biles is currently touring America with other members of the United States Gymnastics Team and has yet to decide whether she will return to competition.