SImone Biles is the latest sports star to receive the prestigious BRAND Legend an award, a prize that is awarded to the best legends in the world of sports.
After receiving the award and showing it to the next generation of gymnasts at a gym in Spring, Texas, the seven-time Olympic medalist spoke exclusively to MARCA about what happened in Tokyo 2020, her future plans and more. Here you eat full interview with Simone Biles in original English, but you can also watch this video.
How do you feel after everything that happened in Tokyo? How do you feel when you’re not competing, when people realize that you don’t need to do this?
“It’s kind of nice, it’s definitely a burden on my shoulders. But everything that happened in Tokyo, I believe it happened for a reason. I’m getting the help I need, but I’m definitely better off coming back here in the US. surrounded by my family and friends. “
How difficult was it for you to make that decision in Tokyo?
“To be honest, it was very difficult. This is something that I never planned and would think about in a million years, so it was crazy. But the support of the girls and my coaches meant the world to me. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but everything happens for a reason, and I think a lot of greatness has come out of it. “
How do you remember the seconds before you had to say, “I need to stop”?
“It was kind of a whirlwind of emotions, like, ‘Oh my God, what’s going on because I’ve been training for this for five years? “So I was very sad, but I had to do what was right for the team and I knew it was the right decision, but also what was right for me and my mental well-being.”
Your teammates immediately hugged you when you told them to. Did that comfort you at that moment?
“It really comforted me because these girls mean the whole world to me and we went through a lot together. But I also kind of broke my heart that I had to walk away from them and not compete with them. But to know that they got my support, I hope they felt it when I was just lying on the floor. “
Are you still afraid to do gymnastics?
“Yes, some of the skills that I use and use a lot, I’m really afraid to use just because of everything that happened. But, [my coaches] really cool every time I come to the gym if I want to play. They make sure I do everything right, so they definitely make me feel so much better. “
What are you more proud of, your medals or the lesson you taught the world in Tokyo?
“Definitely a lesson I taught the world in Tokyo because no one would ever have thought this would happen, but everything that happened because of it has brought really good attention to mental health and the awareness it brings.”
You were one of the images of the year in world sports, and that was without competing. Are you proud of everything you did afterwards?
“It was the craziest thing for me, how much talk and hype there was around my name, even though I didn’t compete. So I’m really proud that people take it more seriously. But obviously I wanted I’d rather have gone there and done a little more. But with the cards I was given, I’m not mad at the results. “
You said that people do not understand what you have been through all these years. Could you explain a little more so they can understand?
“Everyone is just looking at gymnastics in terms of what we do in the gym and what the results are, but they don’t understand that I have struggled with anxiety, depression and mental health issues for many years around the Larry theme. Nassar and sexual assault incidents and I am still trying to deal with it myself. To just put on a brave face and go out and compete, people expect too much of everything we’ve been through. the weight of US gymnastics and the need to be a voice and champion the interests of all girls. This is just crazy. With everything we’ve been through up to this point, I feel like I should have given up before I did, so I watch how far I’ve come with everything that happened. “
You are one of the sports stars who have talked about mental health, but you are not the only one. Why has mental health become so important now and why was it so difficult to talk about it before?
“I think it cost so much because everyone thought of us as fun and they think they have a right to our work and [wanted us to] just go out there, put on a brave face and compete, but now you have these athletic figures and heroes who stand up for themselves and say, “I am not participating in this competition, I don’t understand why it affects you guys. when I am really the one who suffered. ” Highlighting this topic is really great, but it’s sad that it has been hushed up and forgotten for so many years and not taken care of. But, fortunately, we are paying more attention to this. “
In recent months, we have talked a lot in the media about what happened in Tokyo and about the trial of Larry Nassar. Are you tired of all this noise besides sports?
“Yes, I definitely think this sport can be better covered because it is a very unique and beautiful sport. someone hurts. So that … “
Given the incidence of gym abuse, do you think you were lucky with the trainers you had, first with Aimee Burman and then with a couple of Lundy?
“I wouldn’t use the word lucky because I think it’s a stretch, but I think I’m very lucky with the coaches that I have had throughout my career. When I was with Amy, we started at the bottom, so we were never introduced to this toxic culture because she was not an elite trainer. I was her first elite gymnast. So she was not that aware of the toxic culture going on. Then Cecile and Laurent came from France. We train very hard and are proud of what we do and I think this is very important. I feel that they are needed not only for our gymnastics, but also for us people. I think that’s why our relationship worked out so well. So I am very lucky with the coaches that I have had in my career. “
Was Tokyo planning to do Yurchenko’s double rations, which you did during the tests, and you are the only woman who made this jump?
“Yes, we really wanted to go there and compete in Tokyo, but then we had to think about the risk and the reward and what kind of competition we were going to do it in, because they are all very risky. So, we would like to have competed with him, but then, with some competitions, we did not know which one we were going to compete in. So it’s okay. “
How has the Gold Over America tour helped you recover from everything that has happened in the past few months?
“I think it brought me a lot of joy and joy that I ended up on this note and not in Tokyo. So the Gold Over America tour was definitely a book tour. I think the audience got a lot. because they didn’t see us competing before, so to go to this competition and see how we all have fun, I think it was really great for them to see it. “
Do you have any plans for what will happen next in your career?
“What’s next in my career right now is that I’m clearly on hiatus. So we have to see. I’m not sure if I will continue to play sports. with family and friends, and this time just be normal. “
What about cerebral? You’re just getting started with this, so this is the next step for Simone Biles?
“Yes, yes. Being a Cerebral advocate has been amazing. I love having therapy lessons because I feel like it really helps me. Everyone is different, but being an advocate and being their chief influencer is the # 1 my list.. “
Now for the last and most important. Are you happy now?
“Yes, I think I’m happy with the way my life has turned out, especially when I started gymnastics at the age of six. All I wanted was a collage scholarship and I have been to five world championships and two olympics. So, I think I have achieved more than my wildest dreams, so I cannot complain. “