At the time it was Naomi Osaka (24 years old), who after overcoming the first round of Roland Garros, the Japanese tennis player (number 2 in the world and winner of four Grand Slam tournaments) made the decision to retire, arguing that she preferred to take care of her “health mental”.
Now, the world of sports is moved once again with the abandonment of the American gymnast Simone Biles (coincidentally also 24 years old) from the Olympic Games, when she was called to be one of the great figures of Tokyo.
The megastar of world artistic gymnastics and winner of four Olympic gold medals in Rio 2016 decided to retire after failing to perform in the best way the jumping event in the final by artistic gymnastics teams, which in the end had the Russians in the highest on the podium.
At first it seemed that it was a physical problem, but Simone Biles herself was in charge of explaining her retirement. “I have to focus on my mental health. I think it’s the most important thing in sport right now. Athletes have to protect our minds and our bodies, and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do, ”said the outstanding gymnast.
To which she added that “I no longer trust myself so much. Maybe he is getting old. A couple of days ago everyone started to send me messages on Twitter and I felt that I had all the weight on my shoulders ”.
In this sense, Biles recognized that like any person, sometimes “you just have to step aside” when you do not feel with the necessary confidence to achieve the goal.
“I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and hurt myself. I feel like a lot of athletes – he added – who have spoken about mental health have really helped a lot. The Olympic Games are important, but people are worth more ”.
As said, Simone Biles had arrived in Tokyo as the great star of these Olympic Games after the retirement of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and American swimmer Michael Phelps, who left their “reign” after withdrawing from Rio 2016 by their own decision after a long history in Olympism and of being superstars in each of their sports.
Perhaps the fact of being the center of maximum attraction in Tokyo weighed on Biles, but we must also remember that behind the fabulous American gymnastics there is “another story”. The athlete had to overcome a very difficult childhood, marked by a drug addicted mother and a sexual abuse scandal that affected the American gymnastics team.
Biles was just three years old, when the United States social services had to intervene to rescue the four children of Shanon Biles, who was immersed in the underworld of drugs and alcoholism. For this reason, the authorities took away “possession” from the mother.
Shanon’s father, Ronald Biles, and his second wife, Nellie, were left with the younger girls, Simone and Adria. The older brothers went to live with Ronald’s sister. Simone’s grandparents later adopted the girls, and it is Nellie that she calls “Mom.”
Nellie recalls that Simone was always a girl “who constantly liked to jump and bounce” so she relates it to her later attachment to gymnastics.
Already a consecrated star of the sport, Biles revealed that he had been the victim of sexual abuse by the doctor of the American team of gymnasts Larry Nassar, sentenced to decades in prison for abusing at least 265 gymnasts during the years he worked in the team.
“I’ve been feeling broken lately and the more I try to muffle the voice in my head, the louder the screams get. I’m no longer afraid to tell my story, ”she said in 2018, adding her voice to that of many other women who made complaints through the #MeToo campaign.
Like when he marveled at his pirouettes in artistic gymnastics and told about the sexual abuse he had suffered, Biles once again shocked the world after his retirement from the Tokyo Games to preserve his mental health, something that has become frequent in the young and “successful ” athletes