Gymnastics superstar and defending Olympic champion Simone Biles decided to withdraw from Thursday’s individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Games to focus on her mental health.
Biles said she had a mental issue known as the ‘twisties’.
“They saw it a little bit in practice… having a little bit of cornering,” Biles told reporters.
Mental health expert Robert Andrews, who worked with Simone Biles for four years until 2017, explained to CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” why he praised her decision.
“The twisties… it’s a symptom of the brain being overwhelmed with too much stress, pressure and anxiety… essentially the brain is saying it’s not safe enough for you to do these incredibly difficult skills, and if you do, you run a serious risk of injuring yourself, so she would be wise to listen to her brain and body,” said Andrews, who works with Olympic athletes from four countries.
Andrews told host Shepard Smith that he thinks social media and the brutality shown on various platforms play a major role in Biles’ mental ordeals.
“If I were to talk to Simone, I’d tell her to even remove some of these apps from her phone, if that’s what she needs to do, to distance herself from the dark side of social media,” said Andrews, founder and director of the Institute of Sports Performance.
Biles was replaced by Jade Carey in the all-round final on Thursday.