Simone Biles gets support from other athletes as she prioritizes mental health

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Simone Biles withdrew from another Tokyo Olympics women's gymnastics event Wednesday, this time the individual all-around competition, to prioritize her mental health. Other athletes are applauding her.

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Michael McCahey vividly remembers his Olympics experience many decades later. First winning the Olympic trials in fencing, and then going on to represent the U.S. in the 1984 games in Los Angeles. He trained in relative obscurity for years until the Olympics, when the spotlight suddenly burned brightly.

"For me the experience of being at the games was fantastic. I also still remember the great pressure that I was under," He said.

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McCahey said he understands and fully supports Biles' decision to withdraw from the competition. Many mental health experts are also praising her for making the right choice. They said by continuing she risked serious injury, and by stopping, she put herself and her safety first.

"She set a precedent and I think she did it as a role model," said Chris Harris, who works with elite athletes on mental focus.

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Mental health is an important issue for elite athletes in a variety of sports and reaction to Biles has generally been supportive. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers said he has dealt with mental health issues himself.

"I think it's important we work on mental state," he said. "With Simone Biles, there needs to be more conversation around that."

Biles might be the most talked about athlete at the Olympics, and McCahey believes her decision will help other athletes suffering mental health issues to get help as well.

"I'm so proud of her," he said.

Going into these Olympic Games Biles was considered by many to be the best gymnast in the world. But many said her legacy after these games will be about her courage to deal with her mental health over her sport.
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