Even without huge crowds, the electric atmosphere surrounding the Olympic Games in Tokyo is intoxicating, with the best of the best competing for glory in a glittering spectacle of physical excellence.
It’s truly something to behold for viewers, crowded around their televisions in living rooms across the globe to witness their countrymen and women vie for glory.
There are countless moments of united celebration beneath the bright lights of stadiums and arenas. Still, overnight, we were reminded of the extreme stress plaguing Olympians away from that spotlight – a grueling and unrelenting weight that’s rarely seen.
Superstar American gymnast Simone Biles shocked the world overnight when she pulled out of the women’s artistic gymnastics finals to focus on her mental health.
Her teammates, left to compete without her, took home silver. Biles fronted up to a press conference afterward, where she was peppered with questions about what had gone wrong.
“Whenever you get in a high-stress situation, you kind of freak out,” she told reporters. “I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and wellbeing.”
Biles said she had been inspired by the recent high-profile example set by tennis champion Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open last month and then skipped Wimbledon for mental health reasons.