Simone Biles Says Naomi Osaka Sent 'Heartwarming' Text After Tokyo Olympics

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 30, 2021

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 03: Simone Biles of Team United States competes in the Women's Balance Beam Final on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on August 03, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

United States gymnast Simone Biles said Naomi Osaka sent her a "heartwarming" text message after Biles withdrew from several events at this summer's Tokyo Games for mental health reasons.

"I'm so bad at texting back," Biles told ESPN's D'Arcy Maine. "But she's inspired me in so many more ways than just being dominant recently. I know she knows exactly the feeling that I was going through, so it's nice to relate to somebody on that high level."

The 24-year-old Biles won a silver medal with Team USA in the team competition, though she withdrew from the team final and from all but one individual event, winning bronze on the beam.

Biles said that during the Games she suffered from a case of "the twisties," which occur when gymnasts become disoriented in the air. Continuing would have put her in danger of suffering a serious injury.

"For anyone saying I quit, I didn't quit. My mind & body are simply not in sync, as you can see here," she wrote on her Instagram Story at the time. "I don't think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface, nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health."

Biles entered the Olympics as the favorite to repeat as the all-around gold medalist after winning four golds at the 2016 Rio Games.

Osaka, 23, withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon this season after she was fined $15,000 for not speaking to reporters at Roland Garros. She participated at the Tokyo Games, losing in the third round. Osaka cited mental health reasons for pulling out of the French Open, stating she had suffered from depression and social anxiety:

NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ @naomiosaka

<a href="https://t.co/LN2ANnoAYD">pic.twitter.com/LN2ANnoAYD</a>

"Honestly, I feel like there's a lot of things that I did wrong in that moment, but I'm also the type of person that's very in the moment," Osaka told reporters. "Like whatever I feel, I'll say it or do it. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. I think there's a lot of things that I learned to do better. Of course, I don't feel the same situation will happen again."

Biles and Osaka this summer helped further the conversation about mental health, bringing it to the forefront of the social consciousness.


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