Simone Biles is a decorated U.S. gymnast who captured the hearts of many with her ambitious, yet graceful moves. However, over the past year, fans got to witness another side of Simone after the gymnast began expressing the issues she's faced regarding her mental health. The Olympic gold medalist shocked everyone when she pulled out of some of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, citing "twisties" as the reason. The twisties is a gymnastics term that is described as losing control of your body while spinning in the air.
We later saw the 24-year-old open up about the abuse by the hands of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar in front of the Senate.
With so much happening in her life, Simone decided it was best to focus on her mental health. The 32-Olympic and World Champion medalist sat down with the Today show and discussed her partnership with health and telemedicine app Cerebral and the Tokyo Olympics.
Simone is currently on her GOAT (Gold Over America Tour) where she performs some of her signature moves along with other gymnasts in front of a live audience and said that her mental health has been doing better thanks to the therapy she receives on the road. However, she is still scared to do gymnastics.
Getting emotional, Simone said:
"To do something that I've done forever and just not be able to do it because of everything I've gone through is really crazy because I love this sport so much."
"I don't think people understand the magnitude of what I go through, but for so many years to go through everything that I've gone through — put on a front — I'm proud of myself and I'm happy that I can be a leader for the survivors and bring courage to everybody speaking up."
She continued, "To go through something like that and to be a voice for all of the survivors and people who want to come forward and talk about their stories, it's really inspiring. But it's hard that I have to go through it because again, people form their own opinions and I don't really get to say what's going on."
As Simone mentioned, she is a survivor. She is one of over 300 women who was sexually abused by Larry Nassar and in September, the 24-year-old along with her former teammates testified in front of the Senate. Simone blamed the doctor as well as the "system that enabled Larry Nassar's abuse."
During her interview with Hoda Kotb, she made the revelation that not dealing with the abuse may have affected her mental health and performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"After suppressing so many emotions and putting up a front on a global scene, I think, really all of that came to light. My body and my mind allowed me to suppress all of that stuff for so many years for as long as it could take, and as soon as we stepped onto the Olympic scene it just decided it couldn't do it anymore and it cracked."
While we may not know when we will see Simone compete again, the gymnast continues to be an advocate for mental health and a voice for others.
Featured image by Alliance for Women in Media Foundation/Getty Images for Alliance for Women in Media Foundation