I think it’s so cool that Simone Biles is speaking out about her mental health. I’m a kid who sometimes struggles with anxiety. So it’s helpful to know that even famous people and superstrong athletes wrestle with nerves.
Often, it seems as if celebrities try to hide when they are not feeling okay. They make it look as though fame is so amazing. People might think there’s no downside to being in the public eye. But then Biles decided not to compete in the Olympics team event because of the “twisties.” She reminded the world that she’s human too.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows for a famous athlete. It’s hard to be a role model. So I thank Biles for being brave enough to speak out about her mental health. I had some questions for her. Biles was kind enough to answer over email.EZRA SHAW—GETTY IMAGES
GABRI: What was it like to step out of Olympic competition because of your mental health?
BILES: It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make, on a global scene. But I knew that ultimately, it was the best decision for myself, as well as for the team.JAMIE SQUIRE—GETTY IMAGES
GABRI: Was it hard watching your teammates compete without you?
BILES: It wasn’t hard watching them compete without me. They were fully prepared and ready. I’m so proud of them for how they handled the situation on a moment’s notice, and under so much pressure.EZRA SHAW—GETTY IMAGES
GABRI: What advice would you give kids like me, who struggle with anxiety?
BILES: Stay true to yourself. Listen to yourself. But don’t be afraid to ask for help, either. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s a sign of strength.