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Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

Simone Biles' withdrawal from Olympics gymnastics events generated significant public interest in mental health, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

Why it matters: The Tokyo Games offered the ultimate platform for the topic to get global attention, with much of the world watching the same story.

Biles sparked a bigger conversation about mental health than either Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah or Naomi Osaka's withdrawal from the French Open — both of which generated significant international interest.

By the numbers: In the week following Biles' withdrawal from the team event, stories about the gymnast and mental health generated more than 2 million social media interactions (likes, comments, shares) — 25% higher than Meghan and Harry in the days following their interview.

  • Google searches about mental health spiked that day, hitting their highest level in more than two months.

The big picture: The intensity of coverage around mental health has picked up with major events over the course of the year.

  • There were more than 9,000 stories on Biles and mental health over the last week — nearly twice the coverage of Osaka two months earlier, and nearly four times more than the mental health angle with the Royals.

Between the lines: Biles, Osaka and Markle all cited the burden of expectation as stars from whom much is demanded.

  • Biles' distress was compounded by a case of the "twisties", which gymnasts recognize as the loss of the ability to find themselves while in the air and react as they are trained.
  • The phenomenon not only means that they can't perform well, but that they put themselves in danger if they perform at all.
  • Each of the incidents involved Black women who faced considerable public blowback following their moments of candor.

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Oct 13, 2021 - Axios Denver

A reality check on Colorado's mandate to cover transgender services

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Colorado made a national statement Tuesday, becoming the first state to require some insurers to cover transition-related care for transgender people as an essential benefit.

Driving the news: The Biden administration agreed to the expansion sought by Gov. Jared Polis and affirmed two more mandates approved by Colorado lawmakers to cover more opioid treatments and a yearly mental health exam.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook's scandals have been great for shareholders

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios

Facebook has been embroiled in scandal for the past five years, and while the specific allegations change over time, a central theme is constant. Given the choice between commercial and moral imperatives, Facebook always seems to choose the option that is best for the share price.

Why it matters: Facebook's stock chart supports that narrative. Since the 2016 scandals alleging that the social network was infiltrated by foreign actors trying to influence the outcome of democratic elections, Facebook's revenues — and its stock — have been soaring.

Biden to tap telecom trio for NTIA, FCC posts

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to name Alan Davidson as head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as a commissioner at the FCC, according to a person familiar with the process.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.