Gymnastics superstar and defending champion Simone Biles has decided to withdraw from the all-around individual competition on Thursday at the Tokyo Games to focus on her mental health.
Biles said she had a mental health problem known as “twisties”.
“You saw a little bit of it in practice … a little bit of the twists,” Biles told reporters.
Mental health expert Robert Andrews, who worked with Simone Biles for four years until 2017, told CNBC’s The News with Shepard Smith why he praised her decision.
“The twisties … it’s a symptom of too much stress, pressure, and anxiety on the brain … essentially the brain is saying that it is not safe enough for you to learn these incredibly difficult skills, and if so, it is.” “Then you are at serious risk of injuring yourself so it is wise to listen to your brain and body,” said Andrews, who works with Olympic athletes from four countries.
Andrews told host Shepard Smith that he believed social media and the cruelty displayed on all platforms played an important role in Biles’ mental health problems.
“If I spoke to Simone, I would tell her to even delete some of these apps from her phone if she had to to distance herself from the dark side of social media,” said Andrews, founder and director from the Institute for Competitive Sports.
Biles was replaced by Jade Carey in Thursday’s all-around final.