Figure skating bronze medalist Gracie Gold, 25, knows that being an Olympic champion is a ton of pressure.
The skater exclusively talked with E! News about Olympic champion Simone Biles, who recently withdrew from five out of six women’s gymnastics finals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, citing mental health concerns and a case of the “twisties,” which cause gymnasts to become disoriented mid-air. Gold, who helped her team win bronze at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, has herself has been vocal about her own mental health battles.
“I felt like it was really brave for her to say that, because it would be much easier to say ‘I tore something,'” Gold said about Biles. “As I said, most people don’t question physical injuries in the way that they question mental injuries so to speak. Fracturing your psyche is just as valid and as real and as detrimental as a fracture anywhere else in your body.”
Many people took to social media to voice their skepticism about the validity of Biles’ reason for not competing.
The athlete continued, “The questioning from people who have never been athletes, who have never been at the Olympics, who have never been the greatest of all time in their craft and with millions of people watching them on camera…I think it’s just a little bit ridiculous. I thought it was amazing that she’s put her mental health first, because as athletes, it’s almost like we’re conditioned not to show that weakness at all. So to do that and to put that as a priority is incredible.”
Gold stated that Biles, often dubbed the GOAT (greatest of all time), is “so accomplished, she doesn’t even need to be at this Olympics at all and is still the greatest gymnast ever.”
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The figure skater has herself battled and received treatment for depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. She spoke about her struggles in the 2020 HBO documentary, The Weight of Gold, in which Olympic champions analyzed their mental health battles while being mega-famous athletes.
Gold told E! News she feels she “helped pave the way a little bit” for mental health to be part of the public conversation, “in terms of figure skating.” However, she said, “there are so many people still struggling in silence.”
“What if Simone didn’t come out and say, ‘Hey, I need to take a step back, this isn’t good.’ What if she did push through?” Gold said. “You can’t win a medal for the pain or the suffering. Olympians can suffer the longest in silence. There’s no medal for that.”
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