Follow the Leader

Simone has won 23 gold medals, including four at the Olympics.

Gymnast Simone Biles is used to nailing tricky stunts on the balance beam. But Simone performed one of her bravest moves outside the gym: When the stress of personal issues and pressure to perform became too much, she dropped out of the 2020 Summer Olympics to care for her mental health. Follow her path from star athlete to global role model.

1. The Beginning

As a kid, Simone spends time in foster care, which she calls “a turning point,” before being adopted by her grandparents. On a day care field trip to a local gym, she discovers gymnastics and immediately falls in love with the sport.

2. Working Hard

By the age of 14, Simone is training for up to eight hours a day. The work pays off in championship medals and trips to the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. Her favorite events are floor, vault, and balance beam.

3. Facing Setbacks

During the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Simone struggles in her events. She withdraws from her team and individual competitions, saying she is concerned for her mental health. “At the end of the day, (athletes are) human too, so we have to protect our minds and our bodies,” she says.

4. Winning Beyond The Gym

Biles becomes an advocate for mental health awareness, inspiring other athletes to speak out about their own mental health issues and the pressure to perform.