“I thought I could figure it out on my own, but that’s sometimes not the case. And that’s not something you should feel guilty or ashamed of,” she said. “Once I got over that fact, I actually enjoyed it and looked forward to going to therapy. It’s a safe space.”
“For a while, I saw a psychologist once every two weeks,” she told Health.com. “That helped me get in tune with myself so that I felt more comfortable and less anxious.”
For Biles it isn’t just coping with the global pressure of being perhaps the greatest athlete in the word but also unpacking and working through the sexual abuse she experienced at the hands of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, which she says made her want to sleep all the time.
“I feel like in those instances, I was one of the luckier ones because I didn’t get it as bad as some of the other girls I knew,” she told People. “All those years, nobody ever told us what sexual abuse was. So we didn’t really feel like we were going through it or victims.”
“With gymnasts, when you get injured, your heal time is four to six weeks, but then with something so traumatic that happens like this?” said Biles. “There is no four to six weeks, so it’s hard for us to process that. There’s like no time limit or healing time for it, so you just take it day by day.”
In 2018, Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing women and girls as a doctor at Michigan State University and for USA Gymnastics.
Just a day ago, Biles opened up on feeling the ‘weight of the world” on her shoulders in Tokyo.
Biles contributed to her team’s struggles with a slew of uncharacteristic errors. In the floor routine, she finished in second place after falling off the mat and going out of bounds following a tumbling pass. She finished seventh in balance beam after requiring extra steps to finish.
Then, Biles withdrew during the opening routine on vault with what USA Gymnastics called “a medical issue.”
The four-time gold medallist left the floor with a trainer and returned with a wrapped right leg minutes later.
However, Biles told the US Today Show that her withdrawal wasn’t due to a physical injury, though emotionally, it was clear the pressure of the Olympics so far had taken a toll.
“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” she told Hoda Kotb. “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”
The Americans entered the Games as odds-on favourites, touted as perhaps the best gymnastics team in history.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) ended the United States women’s pursuit of a third straight team gymnastics gold medal.
The US team — made up of Biles, Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum and Jordan Chiles — was never able to overcome an early Russian lead established after Biles bailed on performing an Amanar vault in mid-air.
Biles completed a Yurchenko 1 1/2 twist instead with a hard landing and withdrew before the uneven bars.