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29th Jul 2021

Simone Biles points to historic abuse from coach in retweet attacking critics

Charlie Herbert

It comes after she withdrew from two events to focus on her mental health.

Gymnast Simone Biles has retweeted a message suggesting that she is still struggling with trauma relating to historic abuse from a former coach.

This week, Biles withdrew from both the women’s team gymnastics event and the individual all-round contest, citing struggles with her mental health as the main reason for her withdrawal. She has been widely praised and supported for her actions and her prioritisation of her mental health.

The 24-year-old retweeted a message on Wednesday suggesting that she is suffering with trauma stemming from sexual abuse at the hands of Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar.

Fitness trainer and former Olympic gymnast, Andrea Orris, posted a lengthy message on her social media supporting Biles and her decision to withdraw from the event, and it was this that Biles retweeted.

The message reads: “It makes me so frustrated to see comments about Simone not being mentally tough enough or quitting on her team.

“We are talking about the same girl who was molested by her team doctor throughout her entire childhood and teen years.”

Orris continued: “That girl has endured more trauma by the age of 24 than most people will ever go through in a lifetime.”

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She also pointed out the serious impact that not being in the right headspace could have had on Biles. Biles seemingly pulled out of a move halfway through her vault and Orris said that the gymnast could have suffered “career-ending” or “life-threatening” injuries if she hadn’t been so skilled.

Biles was one of more than 150 gymnasts who were sexually abused by former US Olympics team doctor Larry Nassar.

She has previously admitted that the assaults have left her with occasional suicidal thoughts.

After withdrawing from the team event on Tuesday, she told reporters that she was pulling out to “focus on my wellbeing.”

A statement from US Gymnastics the following day confirmed that she was also pulling out from her individual all-round event in order to “focus on her mental health.”