TOKYO: Simone Biles’s bravery in confronting mental health challenges head on is admirable, IOC president Thomas Bach told a small group of reporters at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.
“I can only say, you know, we are with her,” the German head of the International Olympic Committee said.
Superstar Biles sent shockwaves through the Olympic world on Tuesday when she pulled out of the gymnastics team event after one vault. Her American team subsequently took silver.
The 24-year-old went on to speak with remarkable candour about her mental demons.
“I must personally say I had the opportunity to at least briefly talk with her after the team competition... I’m really admiring how she’s handling the situation,” Bach, a gold medal fencer at the 1976 Games, said.
“She admits to having this problem. This is already courageous. Who one year ago would have admitted to say [they] have mental health problems?”
Bach added Biles had shown “Olympic spirit at its best” by cheering on her fellow gymnasts despite being sidelined. Sunisa Lee won the all-around gold on Thursday with Biles urging her on from the stands.
Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2021