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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

Sep 16, 2021 - Podcasts

A crisis for Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley

Did Gen. Mark Milley go too far? That’s the question in Washington today after newly released excerpts of the new book from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are calling into question the top U.S. general's role during the Trump administration.

  • Plus, how teen mental health is affected by the pandemic.
  • And, survivors of Larry Nassar's abuse call out the FBI.

Guests: Axios' Jonathan Swan and Penn State University's Paul Harris.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Dan Bobkoff, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sabeena Singhani, and Alex Sugiura. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper: Mark Milley's crisis

Federal Reserve scales back expectations for economic recovery as Delta variant weighs

Fed chair Jerome Powell during a congressional hearing last year. (Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Fed downgraded near-term expectations for the economy and the labor market, alongside hotter-than-expected inflation, in new estimates out on Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the first time those closely-watched estimates reflect impact from the delta variant that's already rattled the labor market. Still, Fed chairman Jerome Powell said enough progress has been made to begin to pull back emergency-era measures that have supported the economy.

Bipartisan police reform negotiations end without deal

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) with Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in the Capitol in May 2021. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Bipartisan talks on reforming police tactics and accountability, prompted by George Floyd's murder in May 2020, have ended without a compromise, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a key negotiator, said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Lawmakers, led by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Booker, had been working toward a bipartisan deal for months but things fell apart due to disagreements on qualified immunity and other issues.