- "Yesterday we were reminded why you are truly the GOAT," said Priyanka
- "Awed by you," she added
- "Sending love," Priyanka wrote for Simone Biles
Priyanka Chopra has shared an old conversation with US gymnast Simone Biles who recently withdrew from two events at the Tokyo Olympics citing her mental health. In the revealing 2019 interview for Priyanka's YouTube show If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, the 24-year-old athlete speaks with heart-wrenching candour about pressure and failure. Simone, considered the greatest gymnast of all time, pulled out of the women's team event two days ago after faltering mid-air on the first apparatus - the vault, which is her specialty. Team USA continued without her, winning silver. After a medical assessment, Simone also withdrew from the individual all-round event. "I have to do what's right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and my wellbeing," Simone Biles later said, news agency AFP reported.
Several old interviews have since been dredged up in which Simone Biles opens up on being expected to be perfect every day and the toll it takes. Asked about pressure by Priyanka Chopra, Simone said, "I feel like that's the hardest part of my career. I don't want to say job, because I chose this. Always meeting people's needs, every single day, all the time, is probably the hardest thing that I go through."
"When you fail, does it crush you," Priyanka asked. "Yes. I feel like if I don't meet their needs and if I failed... even at the Olympics, everybody wanted me to win six golds or this or that... I didn't meet those needs and I was really down on myself, especially after the beam. Even though I still medalled, everyone was like 'What the heck is a bronze,'" Simone replied. She was referring to the 2016 Rio Olympics where she won four gold medals and a bronze - on the balance beam, about which Simone told Priyanka "It's four inches wide, it's scary."
"Therapy needs to be normalised," Simone Biles told Priyanka Chopra: "Therapy is everything. I feel like now-a-days, if you say you are going to therapy, nobody questions you anymore. But before if I said I was going to therapy, (people would say) 'Are you going to a cuckoo doctor?' And that's why I think therapy today so important and it needs to be normalised."
In the caption of her post, Priyanka Chopra wrote: "I had the joy of getting to know Simone Biles a few years ago, and she blew me away then with her vulnerability and self-awareness. Simone, yesterday we were reminded why you are truly the GOAT, and why nothing supersedes taking care of ourselves... body and mind. I cannot fathom the impossible pressure you all perform under, but knowing where you need to draw the line and step away - TO CHOOSE YOURSELF - is most important. Only when we are okay can we perform at our best, and enjoy doing so. Thank you for helping normalise that even under tremendous pressure, it's ok to be human. Thank you for your courage and strength. You are a role model, and just like the rest of the world I'm so inspired and awed by you. Once again you have shown us what it truly means to be a champion. Sending love."
Watch what Simone Biles told Priyanka Chopra in 2019 here:
Priyanka Chopra's words for Simone Biles adds to the massive outpouring of support the gymnast has received after her decision to prioritise her mental health. Michelle Obama has led the chorus; at home, Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt shared messages on their Instagram stories - Deepika has struggled with depression and runs a mental health foundation, Alia's sister Shaheen Bhatt has been open about her own battle with mental illness.
Simone Biles is the second female athlete to recently withdraw from competition over mental health concerns after tennis star Naomi Osaka pulled out of the French Open.