‘We don’t owe anyone a gold medal’: U.S. gymnast Sunisa Lee defends her teammates and reveals their Tokyo Games nickname is ‘The Fighting Four’ after Simone Biles pulled out of final to ‘focus on her mental health’
- Olympic gymnast Sunisa Lee says she’s ‘never been prouder’ of her teammates after they won silver in the team final without captain Simone Biles
- Biles, who was expected to lead the US to gold in the team final, pulled out of the competition after the first event, following a shock error on vault
- In a tweet Tuesday night, Lee shared that she and her teammates ‘don’t owe anyone a gold medal’
- Lee also used social media to unveil Team USA’s highly anticipated nickname: ‘The Fighting Four’
- Biles has spoken out to praise the ‘bravery’ of her Olympic teammates and thanks them for ‘stepping up when she couldn’t’
- Three-time gold medalist Aly Raisman criticized USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee for lack of leadership and support for their athletes
- Biles’ sponsor, women’s sportswear company Athleta, also issued support for the star gymnast
- Find out the latest Tokyo Olympic news including schedule, medal table and results right here
Team USA gymnast Sunisa Lee (pictured on Tuesday) said she’s ‘never been prouder’ of her squad after teammate Simone Biles pulled out of the competition
When Simone Biles stepped back from the gymnastics team final in Tokyo on Tuesday, Sunisa Lee stepped up.
Lee, 18, along with teammates Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum, won silver in the final behind Team USA’s Russian rivals.
Now, she has taken to social media saying, she has ‘never been prouder to be apart of such an amazing team with an amazing group of girls’.
‘We stepped up when we needed to and did this for ourselves,’ Lee wrote. ‘We do not owe anyone a gold medal, we are WINNERS in our hearts.’
When veteran captain Biles, 24, suffered a dramatic upset at the team final and suddenly withdrew from the competition after flubbing her vault, the remaining three members of Team USA — all first time Olympians — had to continue without her.
Lee was a standout in Tuesday’s competition and arguably carried the team. She scored 15.400 on the uneven bars which is one of her strongest events.
Chiles, who replaced Biles on bars, delivered a strong performance, scoring 14.166 on bars and 14.666 on vault. Experts say she suffered in her floor routine, only scoring 11.700.
McCallum scored 14.300 on vault and 13.700 on bars.
Lee also unveiled what is believed to be Team USA’s nickname.
She posted a photo on Twitter of the girls with their silver medals with a caption reading: The Fighting 4.
Olympic nicknames are not uncommon, NBC reports, citing instances of The Magnificent Seven in 1996, The Fierce Five in 2012, and The Final Five in 2016.
Lee took to social media Tuesday night saying, she has ‘never been prouder to be apart of such an amazing team with an amazing group of girls’
Lee, along with teammates Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum, won silver in the final behind Team USA’s Russian rivals. All four American gymnasts were awarded medals (shown above)
Sunisa Lee unveiled Team USA’s highly anticipated nickname on Twitter Tuesday, sharing a photo of her and her teammates posing with their silver medals
Lee is seen competing on the uneven bars during the Women’s Team Final in Tokyo on Tuesday
Biles has spoken out to praise the ‘bravery’ of her Olympic teammates and thanks them for ‘stepping up when she couldn’t’.
The 24-year-old cited her mental health struggles as the reason for her shock exit, said she made the decision to prioritize her own ‘wellbeing’ while insisting ‘there is more to life than just gymnastics’.
‘It is very unfortunate that it has to happen at this stage because I definitely wanted this Olympics to go a little bit better but again, we’ll take it one day at a time and we’re going to see how the rest goes,’ Biles told reporters.
The gymnast also insisted that her decision to pull out of the competition after just one event – when she was due to take part in all four – was made, in part, to help her team, saying that she ‘didn’t want to risk the team medal’ with her ‘screw up’.
‘I thought it was best that these girls took over the job which they absolutely did,’ she continued, saying that the shock upset made them ‘stronger’ as a team. ‘They are Olympic silver medalists now and they should be really proud of themselves now for how well they did last minute.’
Meanwhile, three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, who was the captain of both The Fierce Five and The Final Five, is criticizing USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee for what she deems as lack of leadership and support for their athletes.
‘USA Gymnastics has been an absolute disaster for years and unfortunately not enough has changed for us to believe in a safer future, but I think this just really shows the lack of leadership [of] USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee,’ Raisman told CNN.
She argues that Biles’ sudden exit from the final could be an indicator of a larger problem within the aforementioned organizations.
‘Their best athlete is struggling … is there someone there to help her?’ said Raisman. ‘I don’t know. I’m not there, so I don’t know. But I think it’s an important question that we should be asking.’
The Olympian, who cited her own experiences, acknowledged that being a star athlete in the global spotlight is ‘a tremendous amount of pressure’.
‘I’m completely devastated and I support [Biles] so much,’ she added.
Biles also received support from Athleta, the Gap-owned women’s sports apparel company that also serves as one of Biles’ sponsors.
‘We stand by Simone and support her well-being both in and out of competition,’ Athleta Chief Brand Officer Kyle Andrew said in a statement obtained by Fox Business. ‘Being the best also means knowing how to take care of yourself. We are inspired by her leadership today and are behind her every step of the way.’
Former first lady Michelle Obama echoed the outpour of support for Biles in a tweet Tuesday night.
‘Am I good enough? Yes, I am. The mantra I practice daily,’ Obama wrote. ‘@Simone_Biles, we are proud of you and we are rooting for you. Congratulations on the the silver medal, Team @USA!’
It is currently unclear whether Biles will compete in the five individual event finals, which begin on Thursday with the all-around competition.
Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles was pulled out of the team final because of a ‘mental issue’ following a shock error on vault – leaving her forced to watch from the sidelines as her teammates suffered an agonizing defeat to their Russian rivals
The 24-year-old – who had been expected to lead the US to gold in the team event – was withdrawn from the lineup after flubbing her vault in the opening minutes of the team final competition in Tokyo on Tuesday
Simone made a very uncharacteristic – and very severe – error during her vault, bailing out of her intended skill mid-way through and only completing one-and-a-half twists instead of two-and-a-half
Shortly after the team final came to a close, Simone took to Instagram to praise her teammates for ‘fighting through adversity’ and ‘stepping up when she couldn’t’, while sharing an image of the four-woman team flaunting their silver medals
Despite claiming a silver medal alongside her teammates, who were left on the verge of tears when Biles withdrew, the sporting superstar insisted the second-place finish had ‘nothing to do with her’ and gave full credit to Lee, Chiles and McCallum.
She thanked Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee, and Jordan Chiles for ‘having her back’, saying that she was ‘inspired by their determination’
‘This medal is all of them and the coaches and nothing to do with me,’ she said.
The gymnast also posted a simple white heart on Twitter
Biles – who had been expected to lead the US to gold – was withdrawn from the lineup after flubbing her vault in the opening minutes of the team final competition in Tokyo on Tuesday, and it now remains unclear whether she will be fit to take part in the individual all-around this Thursday, with officials stating that she will have to undergo ‘daily assessments’ to determine her competition status.
The gymnast admitted that she is ‘dealing with some things internally’, but seemingly vowed to return to competition in time for the all-around final, having gone into the Olympics as the favorite to win the gold.
‘I’m OK,’ Biles said. ‘Just dealing with some things internally which will get fixed out in the next couple of days.’
When asked by the BBC whether she is planning to take part in the upcoming all-around final in two days, she replied simply: ‘Yes.’
However, when speaking to the Today show, Biles confessed that her determination to take part in the event – where she would be defending her championship title – is not enough to cement her place in the lineup, saying: ‘We’re going to take it day by day, and we’re just going to see.’
She went on: ‘Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape. Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.’
Opening up about her determination to prioritize her mental health Biles praised the other athletes — like tennis player Naomi Osaka who quit the French Open earlier this year, citing her own mental health struggles — who have spoken out about their own struggles, insisting that it has become a more important issue than ever, suggesting that sporting stars who are grappling with these kinds of issues are more likely to injure themselves during competition.
Despite the devastating upset, Simone and her teammates, Jordan (left), Grace (center right), and Sunisa (right), were all smiles as they received their silver medals
Team USA’s rivals from Russia led the competition in the wake of Simone’s exit – having qualified to the team final in first place ahead of the US – and the gymnastics GOAT was forced to watch on as they surged to victory over her teammates
Simone and her US teammates went into the Olympics as the favorites to win the country’s third consecutive team gold – but they suffered a shock defeat to Russia’s athletes, who were led by veteran Angelina Melnikova
Speaking at a press conference after the team’s shock second place finish, Simone, who was joined by her teammates, said that she dropped out of the competition to ‘focus on her wellbeing’, insisting that ‘there is more to life than just gymnastics’
‘I have to focus on my mental health,’ Biles said. ‘I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now… we have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.’
She admitted that her confidence has taken a serious knock as a result of her mental health issues, confessing: ‘I don’t trust myself as much anymore… maybe it’s getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world.
Simone confessed that her decision to withdraw from the final was inspired by athletes like Naomi Osaka (seen as she crashed out of the Olympics in the third round on Tuesday) – who voiced a similar sentiment about her own mental health struggles when she quit the French Open earlier this year
‘We’re not just athletes, we’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back. ‘I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and get hurt. ‘I feel like a lot of athletes speaking up has really helped. It’s so big, it’s the Olympic Games, at the end of the day we don’t want to be carried out of there on a stretcher.
‘You have to be there 100 percent or 120 percent or you’re going to hurt yourself.’
In a poignant twist, Biles’ sensational exit from the team final came just hours after Osaka, who is representing her home nation of Japan at the Tokyo Games, crashed out of the Olympic competition in the third round in yet another dramatic upset.
Speaking about the uncharacteristic error in a post-event press conference, Biles confessed that she felt as though she had ‘robbed’ her teammates of a fighting chance to claim the gold, saying: ‘It’s really unfortunate to have a score like that go up there for the team. I feel I robbed them… We could have been a little bit higher in the rankings.
‘I didn’t do my job. They came out and they stepped up. They did what they needed to do.’
USAG said that Simone will be ‘assessed daily’ to determine whether she can compete in the individual event finals – meaning that her Olympics could well come to a very swift and very dramatic end, dashing her hopes of adding five more gold medals to her already-impressive tally
In an Instagram post shared shortly after the team final came to a close, Biles once again praised her teammates for their performance, thanking them for ‘fighting through adversity’ and ‘stepping up when she couldn’t’.
‘I’m SO proud of these girls right here,’ she wrote, while sharing an image of the four-woman squad proudly posing with their silver medals.
‘You girls are incredibly brave & talented! I’ll forever be inspired by your determination to not give up and to fight through adversity!
‘They stepped up when I couldn’t. thanks for being there for me and having my back! forever love y’all.’
She left the stadium with her trainer and was closely followed by medical staff – sparking fears that she had sustained a serious injury. Moments later, it was announced that she had been pulled out of Team USA’s uneven bars lineup, and shortly after, it was revealed that she had been taken out of the competition altogether.
Video captured the moment that the gymnast shared the news with her three teammates, telling them that she was ‘sorry’, but insisting that they were ‘going to do great’ because they had ‘been training for this their whole lives’.
Simone’s coach said that the athlete has not been injured, explaining that she had been withdrawal from the final was the result of a ‘mental issue’, although USA Gymnastics later released a statement blaming the decision on a ‘medical issue’
Simone looked devastated as the news of her withdrawal was announced and she was seen being comforted by one of her coaches, Cecile Landi
Dramatic: Shortly after the vault, Simone was seen leaving the floor with a Team USA coach and a member of the medical staff, sparking fears that she had sustained a serious injury
Video captured the moment that Simone shared the news of her withdrawal with her devastated teammates, who were left on the verge of tears by her shock announcement
The gymnast hugged each of her fellow Team USA athletes and reassured them that they were ‘going to be fine’, saying: ‘You’ve been training your whole entire lives for this’
‘Look, you guys go out there and do what you’re trained to do,’ she told them. ‘It is what it is. I’m sorry, I love you guys, but you’re going to be just fine.’
She then pulled each of her teammates into a hug, before reassuring them once again: ‘You guys have trained your whole entire lives for this, it’s fine. I’ve been to an Olympics, I’ll be fine, this is your first. Go out there and kick a**, OK?’
Will Simone Biles continue her individual quest for gold? Gymnast’s five event finals thrown into doubt
After her shock withdrawal from the team final, Simone Biles’ future at the Tokyo Olympics has been thrown into serious doubt, with the gymnast admitting that she is going to ‘take things day by day’ before committing to competing in any of the five event finals she qualified for.
Currently, Biles is next scheduled to take part in the individual all-around on Thursday, before going on to compete in the finals for the vault, uneven bars, floor exercise, and balance beam.
Should she choose to take part – and provided she gets the all-clear from USA Gymnastics – Biles’ upcoming events schedule is:
- THURSDAY, JULY 29: All-around final
- SUNDAY, AUGUST 1: Vault final, uneven bars final
- MONDAY, AUGUST 2: Floor exercise final
- TUESDAY, AUGUST 3: Balance beam final
Biles qualified in first place for the all-around and the vault competitions, but struggled in her other events, ending up in eighth and final spot for uneven bars, the sixth spot for balance beam, and the second spot on floor exercise.
According to NBC’s commentators, Biles’ coach confirmed that the athlete had not been injured, explaining that her withdrawal from the final was the result of a ‘mental issue’; USA Gymnastics later released a statement blaming the decision on an unspecified ‘medical’ problem while noting that Biles would be ‘assessed daily’ before the individual finals, which begin on Thursday with the all-around competition.
‘Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,’ the statement said. ‘She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.’
The gymnastics legend qualified for all five individual event finals – the all-around, floor exercise, beam, vault, and uneven bars – and she had been hoping to add six more gold medals to her already-impressive tally of Olympic titles. Her dream of leading the team to its third consecutive win has now been dashed, however many still consider her to be the favorite to claim victory in the all-around.
However, Biles’ own feelings about her ability and readiness to take part will not be the only factor taken into consideration and she will need to get the all-clear from USA Gymnastics before she can step out onto the floor for any of the event finals.
It is not known when USAG will announce whether or not Biles is due to compete.
The individual women’s all-around competition – which will see the top 24 qualifying gymnasts competing head-to-head – is set to take place on Thursday, while the vault and uneven bars events are scheduled for Sunday, August 1, the floor exercise for Monday, August 2, and the balance beam for Tuesday, August 3.
Biles had gone into the Games hoping to claim six gold medals, including a team victory – which would have made her the most successful female Olympian of all time – however that dream has now been dashed by Team USA’s second-place finish.
But while the six golds goal is now out of reach, Biles could still equal the record of nine held by Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina over three Olympic Games – Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964 – if she goes on to compete in all five event finals.
News of Biles’ exit from the competition sent shockwaves around the arena – and left commentators stunned, with Today show anchor Hoda Kotb, who is close friends with the gymnast, tearing up as she discussed the news with her co-hosts.
Following the end of the competition, the 56-year-old led the public outpouring of support for Biles, praising her as a ‘class act’.
Simone’s withdrawal from the competition left Team USA with just three gymnasts to compete – Sunisa Lee (left), Grace McCallum (center), and Jordan Chiles (right) – meaning that they all had to take part in every event
The gymnastics superstar – who is the oldest member of the four-strong team and the only returning Olympian on the squad – stood by to support her fellow athletes as they continued the competition
Pressure: Simone’s teammate Jordan had to step up and replace her in both the balance beam and uneven bars
She was replaced on the floor by Suni, who put on a stellar performance to close out Team USA’s competition – but sadly it wasn’t enough to clinch them the gold
‘Someone said it best. @SimoneBiles already won. She is a class act,’ Hoda wrote on Twitter. ‘Withdrew from team competition after vault… stayed and cheered on her teammates… got them chalk for their hands.. encouraged.. hugged them. She already won. Congrats on the silver medal!’
Biles’ former Olympic teammate Laurie Hernandez, who competed alongside her in Rio in 2016 but missed out on a spot at the trials for this year’s Games, also expressed support for the star gymnast, sending her well wishes for a speedy recovery.
‘At the end of the day, mentally, physically, we just want to make sure that she’s ok,’ Laurie said while helping to provide commentary on the competition.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, who competed with Biles and Laurie in Rio, also weighed in on her former teammate’s shock withdrawal from the competition, telling Today: ‘I feel sick to my stomach; it’s horrible.
The final women’s team gymnastics standings: US loses out on gold while Russia claims victory – as Great Britain earns a surprise bronze
‘I’m obviously praying that she’ll be able to compete in the all-around final.’
She added: ‘You know, she’s human, and I think sometimes people forget that. And Simone, just like everyone else, is doing the best that she can.’
Meanwhile Mykayla Skinner, who qualified for Tokyo alongside Biles, and competed in the qualifiers, but missed out on any individual event finals, voiced her ‘heartbreak’ over the gymnast’s shock vault error and exit from the team event, saying: ‘My heart broke for her; I can’t imagine what she’s going through.’
Speaking about Biles’ shock error on vault, the 24-year-old added: ‘I don’t really know what happened… I’m not sure if she hurt something recently.’
However the gymnast’s decision to withdraw from competition also sparked a furious debate on social media, where some people praised her for highlighting the importance of mental health care, while others accused her of ‘abandoning’ her younger teammates at a pivotal moment, suggesting that she should have allowed one of the alternates to step into her place instead of taking part in the opening stages of the final.
Biles, who made history earlier this year when she became the first-ever female gymnast to perform the incredibly risky and complicated Yurchenko double pike vault, stunned spectators when she made a very uncharacteristic error in the team final, bailing out of the skill she had planned to do while in mid-air.
The gymnastics GOAT was supposed to execute a Yurchenko vault with two-and-a-half twists, but bailed out at the last second and only performed one-and-a-half twists, resulting in a much lower starting score.
To add insult to injury, Biles’ knees then buckled on the landing, propelling her towards the mat – although she narrowly avoided falling to the ground.
Her resulting score – 13.766 – is the lowest she has received in years. During qualifications, she received a score of 15.183.
Biles’ returned to the stadium as the dramatic news of her withdrawal was shared, putting on her tracksuit over her leotard in a move that confirmed her exit from the competition.
Simone’s teammate and fellow Texan Jordan fell during her floor routine, effectively ending Team USA’s chances of winning gold after Russia’s athletes all executed clean routines
The talented 20 year old, who trains with Simone at her home gym in Houston, fell backwards at the end of one of her tumbling passes
Simone watched on in horror as her team’s hopes of winning gold were dashed in the final minutes of the competition
The gymnastics superstar will now undergo ‘daily assessments’ to determine whether she is fit to compete in the individual finals, having gone into the Olympics as the favorite to win all five, including the all-around competition
Shock result: Going into the Olympics, Team USA was the favorite to win gold in the team competition, having claimed the title both in 2012 and 2016 – where Simone led the high scores
Jordan, 20, then stepped up to the uneven bars to take her place along with Sunisa and Grace, having already fallen into second place behind rivals Russian Olympic Committee who scored highest on the vault.
Meanwhile, Biles took on the role of cheerleader, standing alongside her teammates – all of whom are first-time Olympians – providing support and assistance as they competed the final three events without her.
But sadly her enthusiastic cheers were not enough to propel the US to a win, despite Chiles, 20, McCallum, 18, and Lee, 18, all putting up impressive scores on both the uneven bars and the balance beam. They went into the final rotation, floor exercise, trailing Russia by just a few tenths of a point, however any hope they had of overtaking their rivals came to a crashing halt when Biles’ fellow Texan Chiles fell during one of her tumbling passes.
The shock decision to pull Simone out of the competition comes just one day after she spoke out about her struggle to cope with the pressure of the ‘weight of the world on her shoulders’ following Team USA’s lackluster performance in the team qualifiers
The error left her with a score of just 11.7 and cleared the way for the ROC’s gymnasts to storm ahead to gold, with all of its athletes executing impressively clean routines on the floor exercise.
Team USA’s sensational decision to pull Biles out of the competition came just days after the athlete opened up about her struggle to cope with the pressure of this year’s Olympics.
Following the team qualifiers – during which the US put on a very lackluster performance that saw them qualifying in second place, while the Russian Olympic Committee finished in first – Biles took to Instagram to share her upset over her performance, while revealing that she ‘feels like she has the weight of the world on her shoulders’.
In qualifying for the finals, the U.S. team of gold-medal hopefuls were beaten into second place by Russia’s athletes with Biles and teammates uncharacteristically faulting during their disciplines.
‘Now to prepare for finals. It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it,’ Biles admitted on Instagram.
‘I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times.
‘I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke!’
Biles’ withdrawal from the competition seriously damaged the US’s chances of earning gold in the team final, with Russia’s gymnasts pushing ahead in the wake of the gymnastics GOAT’s exit.
Simone returned to the stadium to cheer on her teammates, showing little sign of upset or pain, and was seen standing comfortably on her feet – suggesting that she had not sustained a serious injury
The athlete kept her spirits high as she cheered on her teammates and was seen jumping in the air while supporting Suni, Grace, and Jordan during the balance beam event
Simone’s cheers were not enough to propel her team to victory and they finished in second place behind Russia
The decision to pull her out of the final has also left the US with just three athletes, first-time Olympians Lee, Chiles and McCallum meaning that they all had to compete on every event.
Initially, only Biles and McCallum had been expected to take part in the all-around – meaning that they were the only two gymnasts who would have competed on all four apparatus: vault, uneven bars, beam, and floor exercise.
Instead, Chiles was forced to replace Biles on the uneven bars and the balance beam, while Lee stepped into her shoes on the floor.
As well as the added pressure on Team USA’s other three athletes, the squad’s overall score also took a huge hit; Biles’ routines on all four events are typically among those with the highest potential points, particularly when it comes to the vault, beam, and floor exercise.
Even on the uneven bars, which is usually her worst event, Biles is leaps and bounds ahead of the majority of her competitors, a fact that she proved by qualifying for the individual event final.
Despite the devastating result of her personal performance in the final, Biles made heroic efforts to keep her spirits up, and was seen joking and laughing with teammate and fellow Texan Chiles – showing no clear sign of any injury or pain.
Following the third rotation, the US was trailing Russia by just eight tenths of a point, having put in a tremendous performance on the beam, where Biles is typically the highest-scoring athlete.
However Team USA’s hopes of finishing in first place suffered another dramatic blow when Biles’ home gym teammate and close friend Jordan, 20, fell during her floor routine, resulting in a score of just 11.7 – effectively ending the squad’s chances of winning.
McCallum and Lee executed fairly clean routines with few mistakes but it was not enough to push the US ahead of Russia’s gymnasts, all of whom completed stellar floor exercises – ending with veteran athlete Angelina Melnikova, who broke down in tears as she ended her competition.
Simone and her teammates were seen congratulating Russia’s gymnasts on their victory shortly after the final result was announced at the Ariake Gymnastics Center
The gymnast and her home gym teammate Jordan were seen celebrating the silver medal win with a fun dance on the podium
Despite the devastating blow to the team, all four athletes seemed in high spirits
Onward and upward? The gymnasts will now move ahead to compete in the individual finals – although it remains unclear whether Simone will take part in any of the five events that she qualified for
Team USA had gone into the Olympics as the favorites to win the final, but their journey got off to a very rocky start in the qualifying competition when they made a series of uncharacteristic errors
Tuesday’s event final is not the first time that Biles has opened up about her mental health issues, with the gymnast revealing in 2019 that she was left struggling with suicidal thoughts while trying to deal with the abuse she suffered at the hands of USAG’s pedophile doctor Larry Nassar.
Biles was one of more than 150 women who was abused by the USA Gymnastics national team doctor during his 30-year career. He was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison in 2018.
Speaking out about the long-lasting trauma of the abuse in an interview with Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the athlete admitted that she was ‘very depressed’ after openly revealing that she had been a victim of Nassar, having ‘denied’ and ‘buried’ the abuse for years.
She revealed that she began ‘sleeping all the time’, confessing that she remained in her room and in bed ‘because it was the closest thing to death’.
During the candid conversation, Biles reflected on the moment she realized she was being abused, and the heartbreaking moment that she shared the realization with her mother, Nellie.
‘I called [my friend] and I asked her the definition of ‘sexually abused,’ because some of my other friends, they had had it worse than me,’ she recalled. ‘She said, ‘If he did that and that, you’ve been sexually abused.”
The athlete said she initially brushed off her friend’s words because wasn’t ‘willing to put that out there for the world to see.’ She didn’t want people to see her as a sexual abuse survivor instead of ‘Simone the gymnast.’
‘And, so, I denied it and I buried it. And I was very depressed. I never left my room. I was sleeping all the time,’ she recalled.
‘I told one of my lawyers, I said, ‘I sleep all the time because it’s the closest thing to death.”
Earlier this month, Biles again opened up about the horrifying abuse she suffered, this time in a docuseries for Facebook Watch.
‘I slept all the time and it’s because sleeping was basically better than offing myself,’ she said as tears welled up in her eyes. ‘It was like my way to escape reality, and sleeping was like the closest thing to death for me at that point. So I just slept all the time.’
As a competitive athlete, she struggled with not knowing when she would start healing from the trauma she endured.
‘With gymnasts, if you get injured, you’re like, okay, your heal time is four to six weeks, but then with something so traumatic that happens like this, well it’s no four to six weeks, so it’s hard for us to process that,’ she explained. ‘There’s like actually no time limit or healing time for it, so you just take it day by day.’
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