Sep 27, 2021 - Sports

Simone Biles: I should have quit way before the Tokyo Olympics

American Simone Biles with the bronze medal at the Olympic Women's Balance Beam Final medal ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, on Aug. 3.

Team USA's Simone Biles with her Olympic bronze medal during the women's balance beam final medal ceremony at the Tokyo Games in Japan. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Simone Biles said she "should have quit way before" the Tokyo Olympic Games, per an interview with New York Magazine published Monday.

The big picture: The 24-year-old U.S. gymnastics great opened up to the magazine about the expectations on her in the leadup to the Tokyo Games and the impact of the abuse by former Olympic Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who's now serving a 40– to 175-year prison term for sexually abusing young athletes.

  • The four-time Olympic gold medalist was the only survivor of Nassar's abuse to represent Team USA at the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Games, or at least the only one to have come forward publicly, the New York Times notes.
  • Biles dropped out of three of her event finals in Tokyo to prioritize her mental health. She won bronze in her final event, the individual balance beam final, to tie with Shannon Miller as the most decorated U.S. Olympic gymnast ever, with seven medals in total.

What she's saying: "If you looked at everything I’ve gone through for the past seven years, I should have never made another Olympic team," Biles told NYMag.

  • "I should have quit way before Tokyo, when Larry Nassar was in the media for two years," she continued.
  • "It was too much. But I was not going to let him take something I’ve worked for since I was 6 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."

Go deeper: Simone Biles' exit brings global attention to mental health

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