Simone Biles didn’t plan for her second Olympics to become a flashpoint in the evolving conversation about the role proper mental health plays in all levels of sports.
Then again, she’s hardly complaining. If anything, she’s leaning into it.
The American gymnastics star has no regrets about her decision to opt-out of five of the six finals in Tokyo because of a mental block, calling it a small price to pay if it lets others realize they retain the right to say “it’s OK not to be OK” no matter how bright the spotlight.
“I wouldn’t change anything for the world,” said Biles, who left Japan with a silver medal from the team competition and an individual bronze on balance beam. “I gave an outlet for athletes to speak up about their mental health and their well-being and learn that you can put yourself (as a person) first before the athlete.”
It’s a message that will be part of the post-Olympic Gold Over America Tour Biles is headlining this fall. The 35-city exhibition, which kicks off in Tucson, Arizona, on Sept. 21, will incorporate gymnastics and dance elements but also feature a segment led by former UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi on the importance of taking care of yourself mentally.
“We wanted to make it as relatable as possible and let these kids know that we’ve been going through these things,” Biles said.
Biles will be joined on Tour by Olympic teammates Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum as well as MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey. Chiles and…