Health over expectations

Mia Jacobs

More stories from Mia Jacobs

Homecoming Week
October 8, 2021

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Throughout the past decade, the subject of mental health has continued to capture attention in the media. This problem affects many individuals, including Olympic gymnast Simone Biles who recently backed out of several Tokyo Olympic events due to struggles with her state of mind.

“I think Simone Biles made the right decision because mental health can severely affect you and how you act. As an athlete, it is important that she makes sure her health is doing well before she performs,” Satya Prabhuram, freshman, said.

Since backing out, Biles has spent time defending her actions and informing the public about her mental wellbeing, which was the leading reason for her departure. 

“Mental health is very important, especially to keep our athletes performing their best,” Hali Jang, senior, said.

Many issues lead to Biles’ declining mental state at the Olympics, such as her aunt’s death while she was present in Tokyo. In addition, Biles came down with a well known gymnast condition called the Twisties. When gymnasts get the Twisties, they become disoriented, specifically in midair routines. This can be extremely dangerous because they are at risk for long term injuries. 

“Mental health can affect an athlete’s performance as well as cause stress,” Madison Hall, sophomore, said.

Even after withdrawing from several events, Biles competed and won the bronze medal on the balance beam for the United States Women’s Gymnastics Team. In order to prepare for the event, Biles trained at the Juntendo gym where she strived to get past her mental health struggles.

“[The Tokyo Olympics] was not at all how I imagined or dreamed my second Olympics would go, but [I am] blessed to represent the USA,” Simone Bi les, gymnast, said.

Although the 2021 Tokyo Olympics have already ended, mental health issues continue to have lasting effects on athletes. Biles is not the first and will not be the last to deal with these challenges, but as she and other athletes speak up, attention is being brought to improve future Olympics experiences.