Biles, 25, is being celebrated as an inspiration for having the courage to prioritize her mental health at the Tokyo Olympics.
Simone Biles is thinking about how much further she wants to push her illustrious career. The star gymnast recently did an in-depth interview with USA Today as part of their “Women of the Year” series in which she talked about her life and the physical and mental stresses of athletic excellence.
In USA Today, Biles is being celebrated as an inspiration for having the courage to prioritize her mental health when she withdrew from competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games last year.
“Honestly, last year was a crazy year,” she told USA Today. “But I think pushing mental health to the forefront was a huge thing. I honestly didn’t realize in that moment the impact that it would have. A couple months later, I have acknowledged everything that has happened. But it still blows my mind to know that it wasn’t spoken about before as much as it is now, and we’re not open about it and people don’t perceive it the same way as an injury. So I’m happy that we had that conversation and we can now talk about it.”
She added that while it was difficult to be judged by people online for her decision, she has received praise from fans around the nation.
“But now with mental health being a huge topic that we talk about basically on the daily now, they’re always telling me, ‘Thank you so much. You’ve done so much for me and my family, my friends. Now I’m going to go get help,’” said Biles. “So it really does mean a lot to me that a lot of people are now trying to get the help that they not only deserve but that they need.”
The 25-year-old Olympian is taking a year off but is still training on other elements of her sport. “Truly, I thought in 2016, at 19 years old, I had peaked,” Biles said. But she continued to push herself and her body and says she’ll still continue to compete “just to not have any regrets if I look back in
10 years. So now I can really say I have no regrets, but maybe I might push it a little bit more to see.”
Recently engaged to Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens, Biles is also in the middle of planning a wedding and building a house in Houston.
Biles shared with USA Today her definition of courage, saying, “I’ve always tried to stay true to myself between either fame, gymnastics, awards, whatever that is. But I’ve always firmly believed in standing on my own. And if I ever put my mind to something, then going after that, not changing who I am, having courage to speak up, speak out, even if you’re the only one doing that.”