Michelle Obama, Justin Bieber and other stars are rallying around Simone Biles after she withdrew from competition at the Tokyo Olympics to focus on her mental health.
Biles, the most decorated gymnast in American history and a survivor of sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, unexpectedly pulled out of the team final and the individual all-around competition this week to prioritize her well-being.
“We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day, we’re human, too,” said Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist. “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.”
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Justin Bieber, who has been open about his struggles with mental health, applauded her decision and said “nobody will ever understand the pressures” Biles faces.
“I know we don’t know each other but I’m so proud of the decision to withdraw. It’s as simple as – what does it mean to gain the whole world but forfeit your soul,” Bieber wrote on Instagram Wednesday. “Sometimes our no’s are more powerful than our yes’s.”
Bieber said he can relate to Biles prioritizing herself. In 2017, Bieber canceled the remainder of his Purpose World Tour after he grew “really depressed.”
“When what you normally love starts to steal your joy it’s important we take a step back to evaluate why,” Bieber said Wednesday. “People thought I was crazy for not finishing the purpose tour but it was the best thing I could have done for my mental health!!”
Here are other words of support celebrities offered to Biles:
The former first lady shared an encouraging “mantra” that she practices daily with Biles: “Am I good enough? Yes, I am.”
“@Simone_Biles, we are proud of you and we are rooting for you. Congratulations on the the silver medal, Team @USA!” tweeted Obama after the United States gymnastics team, composed of Suni Lee, Grace McCallum and Jordan Chiles, took home the silver medal during the team final after Biles’ exit. The Russian Olympic Committee won the gold.
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The “Orange Is the New Black” actress wanted Biles to know that she is “deeply loved and appreciated.”
“Prioritizing your mental health is probably the most courageous thing you’ve done,” she shared alongside a screenshot of a Facebook post praising the athlete. “Thank you! You are enough. You have enough. You’ve done enough, more than enough.”
The Grammy winner said she stands with Biles.
“Sending luv and prayers to you,” Jackson tweeted. “Putting your mental health 1st IS putting you 1st.”
The “Today” show host said Biles’ display of courage was medal-worthy.
“Someone said it best. @Simone_Biles already won,” tweeted Kotb, who is currently in Tokyo for Olympic coverage. “She is a class act. 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!”
Taraji P. Henson
The actress – who brings awareness to mental health issues, specifically those affecting the Black community, on her Facebook Watch series, “Peace of Mind with Taraji” – said she’s “Sending so much love to @simonebiles.”
“Protecting your mental health ALWAYS comes first,” she wrote on Instagram. “We stand with you!”
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The “Scandal” star said it “takes the strength, power and bravery of a CHAMPION to put your health first.” Washington added, “@Simone_Biles, we love you. Thank you.”
“The View” co-host tweeted, “We love you @Simone_Biles!”