The Weight of Simone Biles’ World and the Immeasurable Value of What She Achieved at the Tokyo Olympics

Biles is “so accomplished, she doesn’t even need to be at this Olympics at all and is still the greatest gymnast ever,” figure skater Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion and bronze medalist at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, told E! News in an interview. If the gymnast had said that she had torn her ACL, ”nobody would be asking for receipts, or ‘Oh, let’s see that X-ray. Can we confirm this?’ But when it’s a mental health thing, it’s immediately questioned.”

On her end, Gold, who talked about her ‘issues with anxiety, depression and an eating disorder in The Weight of Gold, was about to skate competitively for the first time in two years at the Philadelphia Summer Championships. “Fracturing your psyche is just as valid and as real and as detrimental as a fracture anywhere else in your body,” she told E!. “And the questioning from people who have never been athletes, who have never been at the Olympics, who have never been the greatest of all time in their craft and with millions of people watching them on camera…I think it’s just a little bit ridiculous. I thought it was amazing that [Simone] put her mental health first, because as athletes, it’s almost like we’re conditioned not to show that weakness at all. So to do that and to put that as a priority is incredible.”

Skier Crane-Mauzy told E! of Biles, “For her to trust her instincts, enough to withdraw, you don’t know what she might have been avoiding if it wasn’t the time and place. And when you’re breaking world records and boundaries, society applauds your personal best. ‘It’s fantastic, it’s so good.’ And yet, when your personal best is something really different or [not society-approved], it’s much more challenging to still do what is best for you that day.”

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