Speed Reads

'everything I’ve done through'

Simone Biles says she's 'still scared to do gymnastics' in emotional interview

Simone Biles opened up about her withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics in an emotional interview on the Today show Thursday, as the legendary gymnast takes on a new role with a mental health company. 

Biles appeared on Today to discuss a partnership with Cerebral, which offers online mental health care, three months after she withdrew from Olympics competition due to her mental health. The gymnast, who is currently on tour, said she's doing "a lot better" and that "getting the mental health therapy that I need has been really relieving for me." 

But Biles became emotional while reflecting on how it's "really crazy" to "do something that I've done forever and just not be able to do it because of everything I've gone through ... because I love the sport so much." She added, "I'm still scared to do gymnastics." 

Biles has said she withdrew from competition after experiencing the "twisties," a phenomenon that can cause gymnasts to lose their bearings in the air. She later returned to competition and won a bronze medal. In September, she delivered powerful testimony to Congress about being sexually abused by former team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, and Today host Hoda Kotb asked her how Nassar's "horrible crimes impacted your Olympic experience." Biles said she suppressed her emotions about this for years, but at the Olympics, her body "just decided it couldn't do it anymore," noting this demonstrates the importance of taking care of one's mental health. 

"I'm going to be okay with the right help, but it does kind of suck because I'd worked really, really hard for that," she said. "It's just hard." 

Biles is set to serve as "chief impact officer" for Cerebral, and appearing alongside her on Today, Cerebral CEO Kyle Robertson told Biles, "What you've done to fundamentally change mental health and how people view mental health, and destigmatize it, is just so powerful for so many people."