Simone Biles has Dominique Moceanu's support.
After the 24-year-old gymnast withdrew from the team and individual all-around finals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the 39-year-old retired athlete took to Twitter to look back at her own experience from the Games.
In 1996, Moceanu competed at the Olympics in Atlanta. She was part of the "Magnificent Seven," the first U.S. women's gymnastics team to win the Olympic team gold medal. But before the big event, Moceanu suffered a stress fracture in her tibia. And while competing on the balance beam, she fell and hit her head.
"I was 14 y/o w/ a tibial stress fracture, left alone w/ no cervical spine exam after this fall," she tweeted on July 28. "I competed in the Olympic floor final minutes later."
Reflecting on Biles' decision, Moceanu said the six-time Olympic medalist's decision "demonstrates that we have a say in our own health—“a say” I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian."
"In our sport, we essentially dive into a pool w/ no water," she continued. "When you lose your ability to find the ground—which appears to be part of @Simone_Biles decision—-the consequences can be catastrophic. She made the right decision for the team & herself."
Moceanu also issued a reminder to spectators watching at home. "The general public needs to understand that an 'off day' in gymnastics can result in catastrophic injuries," she added. "Gymnasts make their skills appear so effortless that we forget about the tremendous risks they take."
All in all, she said "Simone's decision represents a significant positive change in our gymnastics culture."
Biles removed herself from the women's gymnastics team final on July 27 following her vault. The sports star, who noted the day before she feels like she has "the weight of the world" on her shoulders at times, cited a need to focus on her mental health as the reason for withdrawing.
Biles continued to cheer on her teammates Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum and Jordan Chiles from the sides, and the U.S. women's gymnastics team won the silver medal.
Later on, USA Gymnastics announced that Biles had also withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition to continue to focus on her mental health and that Jade Carey would participate in her place.
"We wholeheartedly support Simone's decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being," the organization said. "Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many."
"I'm going to support her no matter what," Chiles told Today. "I am her teammate. I'm her best friend, like she said. This is the moment that I think that I truly realized I'd gotten so much closer to her than I really thought. I mean, she's my ride-or-die. I will forever be by her side."
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