Thunderclap in Tokyo. Five years after having been multi-gold medalist at the Olympic Games in Rio and becoming a sport icon, even qualified as the best gymnast of all time, Simone Biles announced her retirement from team competition in gymnastics before declaring package for the general competition on Thursday July 29. “After a medical evaluation, Simone Biles withdrew from the all-around final in order to focus on her mental health,” the American Gymnastics Federation said on Twitter. If the 24 year old young woman spoke of “a very heavy pressure to manage”, it could be that some old demons resurface. Among them, the trauma of sexual abuse she suffered.
In January 2018, Simone Biles had indeed revealed to be among the victims of Larry Nassar, a former doctor of the American national gymnastics team, who was sentenced in December 2017 to sixty years in prison for possession of child pornography. Like 265 American gymnasts, the Olympic champion also reported having been sexually abused by the professional, whose list of victims includes several recognized Olympic athletes and the assaults date back to 1992. If she has not clearly explained the reasons for her abandonment, Simone Biles however retweeted an eloquent message which suggests that this trauma is not yet behind her.
Simone Biles still qualified for the Olympics?
Faced with the criticisms which assail the gymnast, her compatriot Andrea Orris wanted to defend her on Twitter. “It makes me so frustrated to see comments that Simone is not mentally strong enough or that she is leaving her team,” began the gymnast, before continuing. “We’re talking about the same girl who was assaulted by her team doctor throughout her childhood and teenage years. This girl suffered more trauma at age 24 than most people realize. will never undergo in their life “, she continued, specifying that” we will never know nor will not fully understand [the] choices [of Simone Biles] and her personal struggles “. For the moment, the young woman is still qualified for four finals which must be held next week (beam, floor, bars, jump). However, she indicated that her participation would be decided day by day, while it will be assessed daily, she who has decided to prioritize her well-being.
From a gymnast friend regarding Simone Biles ❤️ pic.twitter.com/4eWPIgi4yf
– Brandon Marino (@TheBatMarino) July 27, 2021
Simone Biles © Imago