Ronda Rousey, Alex Scott: Female sports icons blast Simone Biles’ critics

Alex Scott Simone Biles

After withdrawing from the artistic gymnastics team final, Simone Biles has announced she will not be competing in the all-around individual final this afternoon.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist has admitted she is struggling with her mental health and is taking some time out to focus on herself.

Biles has received support in abundance as fans, celebrities, and fellow athletes both past and present have sent their love during this difficult time. However, she also received vile backlash, with many branding her as 'weak' for pulling out of the two events.

Many have lambasted these critics and slammed those questioning her mental resilience.

One of the latest to show their support for the US star is Alex Scott, who spoke about Biles' courage during the BBC's recent coverage of the Games.

"I just want to say that actually, this is not a moment of weakness," the presenter said. "It's far from it for Simone. It's a real sign of strength on one of the world's biggest stages.

"The four-time Olympic champion has transcended her sport, raised awareness on a range of very important issues, and she's done it again. Finding one's voice is just as difficult as any skill that can be mastered. Simone has ensured that the Tokyo Olympics will also be defined by things other than sport.

"A conversation that needs to be continued – mental health is important and it does matter."

Along with Scott, UFC star Ronda Rousey has also rushed to the gymnast's defence.

"Everyone judging Simone Biles doesn't know their foot from their a**hole when it comes to being in her position," Rousey tweeted. "She's on the Olympic team while you're on Twitter. Whatever is going on cannot be grasped from outside. She's doing the absolute best she can given the situation she's in."

Biles is just one athlete who is helping to change the way the sporting world views mental health. Naomi Osaka also recently spoke out about her own internal struggles after she withdrew from the French Open earlier this year.

It's still uncertain whether Biles will compete in her remaining individual Olympic events. She is currently still scheduled to appear in the vault, balance beam, and floor in the coming days. The 24-year-old is currently taking her Tokyo journey day by day as she prioritises her wellbeing.

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