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Simone Biles hugs a teammate during the women's team final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: Fred Lee via Getty Images

Former and current Olympic gymnasts are rallying behind Simone Biles after she pulled out of the team and individual all-around competitions due to mental health concerns.

Why it matters: Leading up to the Tokyo Olympics, Biles was billed as the favored gold medalist and greatest of all time. But the weight that came with bearing the title led her to step away, resulting in support and praise for her honesty in discussing mental health challenges.

What they're saying:
  • Olympic gymnast and Biles' teammate MyKayla Skinner: "My heart broke for her. I can’t imagine what she’s going through right now."
    • "We are all human," she added. "She deserves all the support in the world right now. And still our GOAT!!!"
  • Olympic gymnast and Biles' teammate Jordan Chiles: "This medal is definitely for her, because if it wasn't for her, we wouldn't be here ... We wouldn't be silver Olympic medalists [if not for] who she is as a person."
  • Former Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez: "There is so much pressure on this woman to go out and to dominate and win the U.S. all these medals. At the end of the day, she is a human being. I'm really proud of her."
    • "I can't imagine what she's feeling right now, because people have been keeping a very close eye on her for the last few years and of course, this is the moment where everybody wants to tune in."
  • Former Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman: "I know that all of these athletes dream of this moment for their whole entire lives, and so I’m just completely devastated. I am obviously so worried and just hoping that Simone is okay."
    • "I think this just really shows the lack of leadership at USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee," she later told CNN. "I mean, their best athlete is struggling, and is there someone there to help her?
    • "It was not discussed much when I was training, and we didn't feel like we had access to mental-health experts to help us through the stress. So that's definitely something that needs to change."

Go deeper: Simone Biles is still a winner

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Oct 30, 2021 - Health

Tech is going all-in on mental health

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios; Photos: Universal History Archive via Getty Images

More and more, our mental health care is being delivered using tech solutions like smartphone apps, AI-powered chatbots and wearables — especially since the start of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Technology has its flaws, but experts say it has been critical in addressing some of the obstacles in access to mental health care: too few providers and too little insurance coverage.

Oct 30, 2021 - Health

The kids really aren't OK

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The number of children struggling with mental health issues has skyrocketed amid the pandemic, and the crisis isn't abating as life returns to normal.

Why it matters: Many children won't just bounce back to normal on their own, experts say, and will need additional care and support in their homes, schools and broader communities.

1 hour ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.