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Simone Biles withdrew from Tokyo 2020 for mental health, how do you know if it's time to prioritize personal care over success?

The decision of the gymnast Simone Biles teaches us that perhaps the true success is in being happy with the medals won, and not in sacrificing mental and physical health to go for one more.

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This article was translated from our Spanish edition. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

American gymnast Simone Biles shocked the world for the second day in a row during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics . Yesterday she withdrew from the team competition due to physical problems, and on Wednesday announced that she will not participate in the individual women's all-around , USA Gymnastics reported. The athlete's decision is driven by "mental health" reasons, which again puts a question on the table: how do we know that it is time to pause our quest for success to prioritize self-care? ¿

Fred Lee | Getty Images

At 24, Biles made it to the Tokyo Olympics as the highest-profile athlete on the United States team. He is the face of the Games for NBC, he must fulfill the obligations of several sponsors, and he was also a central figure in the case against Lawrence G. Nassar, a doctor for the American gymnastics team accused of abusing several athletes, including Simone.

Of course, she was also the big favorite to win the gold in the individual gymnastics all-around , which would take place this Thursday, the same competition in which she swept in Rio 2016.

It should be remembered that that year Simone Biles was crowned the American gymnast with the most gold medals achieved in a single Olympic Games, after winning four gold medals: team all-around, individual all-around, jump and floor. However, this time he took a step back.

"After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the individual women's all-around competition at the Tokyo 2020 Games , in order to focus on her mental health," USA Gymnastics announced in a statement via Twitter.

"Simone will continue to be evaluated on a daily basis to determine whether or not she will be able to participate in next week's apparatus finals. Jade Carey , who obtained the ninth best mark in the qualifications, will participate in her place in the all-around," announced the organization.

“We fully support Simone's decision   and we applaud your courage in prioritizing your well-being. His courage shows, once again, why he is a role model for so many, "the statement concludes.

"We have to protect our mind and body and not just do what the world wants us to do," says Simone Biles.

While the news was confirmed by USA Gymnastics, Simone Biles is not the type to keep quiet and explain her decision.

"After the performance I did, I did not want to continue. I have to focus on my mental health. I think mental health is more present in the sport right now ," Biles said after the United States team will be in second place, surpassed by the Russian Olympic Committee.

"We have to protect our mind and our body and not limit ourselves to doing what the world wants us to do," stressed the gymnast, who could barely compete in horse jumping in the team session before leaving to be treated. Her score was just 13,766, the worst among the members of the US team.

Minutes later, it was made official that Simone Biles was withdrawing from the final and would be replaced by Jordan Chiles .

Later, the gymnast gave an account of her feelings with a post on her social networks.

“Sometimes I really feel like I have all the weight in the world on my shoulders. I know I forget and make it look like the pressure doesn't affect me, but damn it's hard sometimes hahaha! The Olympics are not a joke! ”He wrote.

Simone is now classified to compete in the jump, uneven bars, floor and balance beam finals on August 1, 2 and 3, but will remain under evaluation to determine whether or not to participate.

Olympic glory or mental health? This is the dilemma

The pressure to give a perfect performance and meet expectations has weighed on the gymnast long before reaching Tokyo 2020 . On Tuesday, Simone revealed that she started "fighting all those demons" , couldn't contain them and felt like she had lost her way, to the point of wondering why she was here.

His participation in horse jumping, where he failed to make the number of turns he had planned, made it clear that something was wrong. So, the contemporary gymnastics star walked off the stage and quit the competition, saying she was mentally unprepared to continue.

Biles said he loves racing, but " felt like he was still doing it for other people ." And he added: "It hurts my heart, because somehow they have taken me away from doing what I love to please other people ."

Thus, Simone Biles joins other athletes of her generation who prioritize mental health above the expectations of others.

According to Steven Ungerleider, a sports psychologist from Oregon, United States, the postponement of the Olympics increased the stress on athletes by changing their routines and life plans from one moment to the next.

“You keep your pace because you know that the fourth year is the Olympic year. […] You prepare yourself psychologically, emotionally and physically and, suddenly, someone decides to postpone them and you sit down to bite your nails while you think: 'I have to wait another year'. A lot of anxiety accumulates , "the specialist told The New York Times, adding that the absence of the public is also a demotivating factor, since as an athlete " you feed on that, "he said.

In his remarks, Biles said that he reached the Olympics in good shape, but was dealing with some problems that were getting more difficult every day. He explained that therapy and medications generally work, but that high stress situations make him scared and unable to handle his emotions.

The gymnast confessed that four or five years ago she would have competed despite the risk of injury or ignoring her mental state. However, maturity changed his perspective.

“Today something happened to me like: you know what, no, I don't want to do something stupid and hurt myself , ” explained Simone Biles . “It's just not worth it, especially when you have three amazing athletes who can step up and do it. It's not worth it ” .

Mental health is ALWAYS a priority

For many people, whether they are entrepreneurs or employees, it is easy to ignore the signs that something is wrong emotionally, and focus on achieving their professional or business goals. They think that it doesn't matter much how they feel, as long as they keep doing 'productive' things.

Some signs that you should give more importance to your mental health and perhaps pause on your way to success are:

  • You find it difficult to focus on your tasks and that has reduced your productivity.
  • Thinking about your work to do causes you panic or anxiety attacks.
  • You are no longer excited about new projects in your area.
  • Every morning you have a harder time getting up, especially when you think about going to work.
  • You just stopped being happy with what you do.

Knowing when to retire to take care of your mental health is not a failure , it is just a respite to reorder and move on, even if it means changing course.

The name of Simone Biles is already written in golden letters in the history of the Olympic Games, gymnastics, sports and the United States, she has nothing more to prove. His decision teaches us that perhaps the true success is in being happy with the medals won, and not in sacrificing mental and physical health to go for one more.