Young LI gymnast stands by Simone Biles after withdrawal

A young gymnast from Suffolk is standing with Simone Biles after the athlete withdrew from the artistic gymnastic final at the Tokyo Olympics Tuesday.

News 12 Staff

Jul 27, 2021, 7:14 PM

Updated 1,091 days ago

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A young gymnast from Suffolk is standing with Simone Biles after the athlete withdrew from the artistic gymnastic final at the Tokyo Olympics Tuesday.
After finishing the vault Tuesday morning, Simone Biles told Team USA that she was taking herself out of the team competition.
“I was shaking. I've just never felt like this going into a competition before. I tried to come out here and have fun…warm up in the back went a little bit better, but once I came out here, I was like, ‘No. Mental's not there, so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself,’” says Biles.
Northwell Health psychiatrist Dr. Victor Formari believes learning how to destress is important.
“I think many competitive, successful athletes have been taught a variety of relaxation techniques to help them deal with the extreme levels of stress…Those tools can be useful, but they're not foolproof,” says Formari.
Nicole Fleming is a 14-year-old gymnast from Commack who began competing eight years ago. She tells News 12 that she’s admired Biles for years.
"It's upsetting because it's so cool to see her do all her skills and have skills named after her,” says Fleming.
When asked if the teen gymnast can somewhat relate to what Biles is going through in terms of feeling pressure, she said, “Of course I do but her's is so much more pressure competing for the whole USA compared to a small town.”
Biles hasn't decided if she'll compete in Thursday's individual competition yet, but she says she's "taking it one day at a time."
The award-winning Olympian offers this advice to others: "Put mental health first because if you don't, you're not going to enjoy your sport and you're not going to exceed as much as you want to. So it's OK sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself.”


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