Aly Raisman Says Simone Biles Showed Bravery by Withdrawing from Olympic Final

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 27, 2021

Simone Biles, of the United States, waits for her turn to perform during the artistic gymnastics women's final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Aly Raisman praised her former United States women's national gymnastics teammate Simone Biles in the wake of her decision to remove herself from the team final at the Tokyo Olympics to prioritize her mental health.

"It is so much pressure," Raisman told ESPN's Michele Steele. "It's the most pressure I've ever seen on a gymnast and maybe even Olympic athlete, and I can't imagine how hard it is for her.

"I'm very proud of Simone, and I can't imagine the bravery that it takes to just say, 'I'm not going to do it today.'"

Biles spoke with reporters after Team USA took the silver medal regarding her decision.

Michele Steele @MicheleSteele

Simone Biles on her withdrawal after the vault: "I felt like it would be better to take a back seat… I didn’t want to risk the team a medal because they worked way too hard for my screw ups." <a href="https://t.co/lI43LuFeX5">pic.twitter.com/lI43LuFeX5</a>

Michele Steele @MicheleSteele

Biles on her teammates: "I knew they were going to be just fine... emotions were all over the place, but look they did it without me and they're olympic silver medalists."

Michele Steele @MicheleSteele

Biles says "hopefully" she can get back out there for the individual events. "We'll see."

Many people praised Biles following her decision.

Kavitha A. Davidson @kavithadavidson

Simone Biles won nationals w/broken toes in both feet, worlds w/a kidney stone, and has carried the burden of being a face of sexual assault survivors as a national institution failed to support them<br><br>Half of y'all yelling about "toughness" can't handle wearing a mask in Wegman's

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

The sports world shows love to Simone Biles after she withdrew from the final team event 🙏 <a href="https://t.co/I2Unbjpz3e">pic.twitter.com/I2Unbjpz3e</a>

Coco Gauff @CocoGauff

we love you and we are with you 🇺🇸 <a href="https://twitter.com/Simone_Biles?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Simone_Biles</a>

Katie Porter @katieporteroc

Simone is right, and she’s bravely leading by example. Mental health should be treated the same as physical health—in sports and in society. That’s why I’ve fought to hold health insurers accountable when they try to cover them differently. <a href="https://t.co/uOcLjVaOHG">https://t.co/uOcLjVaOHG</a>

Jeremy Lin @JLin7

Propsss to <a href="https://twitter.com/naomiosakaa1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@naomiosakaa1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/Simone_Biles?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Simone_Biles</a> for reminding us the importance of taking care of ourselves!! Grateful we get to watch how they’re gonna keep changing the game for future generations in AND outside their sports

Kerri Strug @kerristrug96

Sending love to you <a href="https://twitter.com/Simone_Biles?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Simone_Biles</a> 🐐❤️-Team UNITED States of America 🇺🇸

Biles is one of the most decorated and accomplished athletes in sports history, routinely dazzling fans with mind-bending moves and routines.

But Biles' decision was a stark reminder that she's human and must also look after herself in the wake of immense adversity and pressure to perform at a peak level.

"At the end of the day, we're human too," Biles said after withdrawing, per Will Graves of the Associated Press.

"So, we have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do."

Biles owns 25 gold medals on the world stage: four in the Olympics, 19 in the World Championships and two in the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup. She owns 34 world medals overall (25 gold, five silver, four bronze).