sport news Tokyo Olympics: COMMENT - It's tragic that Simone Biles feels that her needs ...

sport news Tokyo Olympics: COMMENT - It's tragic that Simone Biles feels that her needs ...
sport news Tokyo Olympics: COMMENT - It's tragic that Simone Biles feels that her needs ...
IAN HERBERT: It's tragic that Simone Biles feels that her needs are LAST on the list... she has been driven to a decision that will remain with her for all her days - don't let her Olympics withdrawal be dressed up as something to celebrate

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The mask Simone Biles wore as she headed through the back corridors of the Ariake Gymnastics Centre here — pausing at one excruciating moment to allow the Russians with their gold medals to move along — made it impossible to tell if there was pain behind her eyes.

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On a superficial level, Biles seemed remarkably secure in the mixed zone for someone who had walked out of one of the biggest nights of her life. Only once in her 13 minutes of talk was there a crack in her voice, when she said this was supposed to be an Olympics for her and that 'it hurts my heart'.

Her words and decision are liberating for young performers pushed to the brink by over-zealous coaches or parents and who long to say: 'No more.'

Simone Biles pulled out of her individual final at the Olympics to focus on her mental health

But don't let Biles' departure from the team and individual all-around finals, which was announced on Wednesday, be dressed up as something to celebrate. At 24, she's been driven to a decision that will remain with her for all her days.

There's an assumption that Biles has the wisdom of the ages simply because she happens to somersault like no one else. But there was a vulnerability in the way she spoke — desperately trying to frame a silver medal as a triumph. Biles said that in these Olympics she was performing for her coaches, her family, her team-mates — and then herself.

That mixed-zone scene revealed how Biles carries, competes for and speaks for the USA team in a way that is not conducive to good health. There did not appear to be anyone from the USA camp facilitating the encounter between Biles and the press.

It took a member of the Olympics

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