Sponsors of Simone Biles praised the Olympic gymnast after her decision to withdraw from the all-around gymnastics competition and prioritize her mental health, calling the move “brave” and courageous.
"We stand by Simone and support her well-being both in and out of competition. Being the best also means knowing how to take care of yourself. We are inspired by her leadership today and are behind her every step of the way," a Gap Inc. spokesperson told The Hill a statement.
Gap owns the women's sportswear brand Athleta, which has sponsored Biles since April after she left her partnership with Nike.
“The Team Visa family recognizes her incredibly brave decision, which shows how Simone is able to inspire both on and off the mat,” Visa tweeted Wednesday.
An inspiration, on and off the mat. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/3lbJ8IaWEy— Visa (@Visa) July 28, 2021
United Airlines, a sponsor for Team USA, also lauded the decision on Twitter:
Earlier this week, Biles competed in the women’s team final event but she left the competition after finishing a vault. She later said she couldn’t continue competing because she was “fighting all those demons” in her mind and was second-guessing herself.
The following day the USA Gymnastics team announced that Biles was withdrawing from the all-around gymnastics competition to focus on her mental health.
“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many,” the team wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition. We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many. pic.twitter.com/6ILdtSQF7o— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 28, 2021
The announcement followed remarks Biles made earlier this week where she said she felt enormous pressure to perform well all the time.
“I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
On Wednesday evening, Biles offered thanks for the outpouring of support, saying on Twitter that it "has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.”
the outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 29, 2021
Biles has not yet said if she'll be competing in next week's individual events.