US superstar gymnast Simone Biles endured a tough time at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, withdrawing from four of the five events she had entered over the summer
Simone Biles has admitted she feels she “should have quit way before the Tokyo Olympics” after opening up about the trauma she has suffered since being sexually abused by doctor Larry Nassar.
Nassar was the former USA Gymnastics doctor for a total of 18 years and during this time the 58-year-old repeatedly took advantage of his position, having sexually abused more than 150 women during his career, one of which was four-time Olympic gold medalist Biles.
After dominating gymnastics at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro with four golds and five bronzes, the 24-year-old was expected to go onto further greatness again in Tokyo.
However, she soon struggled at this year’s events, forcing her to withdraw from four of the five disciplines she entered after her mental health problems took its toll on her ability to perform at her best.
And following her difficult past, Biles has opened up on her mental health again, insisting she should not have competed in Tokyo.
In an interview with New Yorker magazine she said: “If you looked at everything I’ve gone through for the past seven years, I should have never made another Olympic team.
“I should have quit way before Tokyo, when Larry Nassar was in the media for two years. It was too much.”
However the American star admitted she tried to battle on through her mental health struggles, in an attempt to not let Nassar spoil her already glittering Olympic career.
She added: “But I was not going to let him take something I’ve worked for since I was six years old. I wasn’t going to let him take that joy away from me. So I pushed past that for as long as my mind and my body would let me.”
During her only appearance at the Tokyo Games, Biles committed a number of out of character errors, which in the sport are known as ‘twisties’.
Speaking about her mistakes, she admitted that it was a ‘miracle’ that she was able to land on her feet.
“The twisties is so dangerous. It’s basically life or death. It’s a miracle I landed on my feet,” Biles commented.
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“If that was any other person, they would have gone out on a stretcher. As soon as I landed that vault, I went and told my coach, ‘I cannot continue’.
“My perspective has never changed so quickly from wanting to be on a podium to wanting to be able to go home, by myself, without any crutches.”
Following her withdrawal, some – including Piers Morgan – criticised the 24-year-old’s character and willingness to win, but Biles revealed that there was much more to it than that, comparing her mental block to losing your eyesight.
The 24-year-old was the only competitor to take part in this year’s games from the group of victims who were abused by Nassar, and at a recent testimony in the FBI’s investigation into the doctor, Biles stated she felt her and her team-mates had been ‘let down’ by the authorities.
During the testimony she said: “We have been failed and we deserve answers. Nassar is where he belongs, but those who enabled him deserve to be held accountable.
“If they are not, I am convinced that this will continue to happen to others across Olympic sports.
“As the lone competitor in the recent Tokyo Games who was a survivor of this horror, I can assure you that the impacts of this man’s abuse are not ever over or forgotten.”
Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in 2018 following the investigation.