Simone Biles says she saw psychologist regularly for anxiety

"For a while, I saw a psychologist once every two weeks," said Biles.

In a new cover interview for Health magazine’s July/August issue, Simone Biles reveals how making her mental health a priority has become an integral part of her training.

In the issue that goes on sale Friday, the 24-year-old explains how training for her second Olympics this summer includes athletic and ice massages, the use of compression boots and Epson-salt baths, and regular visits to a psychologist.

“For a while, I saw a psychologist once every two weeks,” said Biles who secured her 7th national title at the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Championship last weekend. “That helped me get in tune with myself so that I felt more comfortable and less anxious.”

Simone Biles
Simone Biles looks on during warm ups prior to the 2021 GK U.S. Classic gymnastics competition at the Indiana Convention Center on May 22, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Although over time she’s learned to make time for relaxation which often includes relax hanging “by the pool with my boyfriend, or have my family come over,” she admits that her perfectionism used to manifest as stubbornness.

In the Health interview, the Olympic gold medalist talks about advice she’d give her younger self which would include, “to be a little bit happier – to know that it’s not over just because something happens in one day. You can keep pushing.”

Although she does admit she “can still be pretty stubborn.”

Simone Biles
Promotional image for “Simone vs Herself” documentary. (Courtesy of DKC)

The Tokyo Games were delayed for a year due to the widespread shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Biles also reflected on what she learned during that abnormally long road to the Olympics.

“It was a whirlwind of emotions – I couldn’t believe the news,” she told Health. “I was sad. I was angry. I was annoyed. But I also knew it needed to happen to keep everyone safe and get the virus under control.”

The mind of a champion

Biles isn’t the only super athlete making headlines for prioritizing her mental stability.

As we previously reported, tennis champion Naomi Osaka sparked a heated debate after she pulled out of the French Open to get her depression and social anxiety in check.

This week, she also withdrew from the Berlin WTA 5000 tournament amid her mental health break.

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts against Maria Sakkari of Greece in their quarterfinal match of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium on March 31, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

“We have received notification Naomi Osaka cannot start in Berlin. After consulting her management, she will take a break,” Berlin event organizers said in a statement.

Last month, the 23-year-old announced she would not be speaking to the media at the French Open. She was fined $15K at the event for skipping a post-match news conference after her first-round victory — and threatened by all four Grand Slam tournaments with stiffer penalties, including being defaulted if she continues to avoid meeting with the media.

The fine was announced in a joint statement from the president of the French tennis federation, Gilles Moretton, and the heads of the other majors.

The statement said Osaka has been “advised” that “should she continue to ignore her media obligations during the tournament, she would be exposing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement consequences.”

Citing the rule book, the statement notes that “tougher sanctions” from “repeat violations” could include default — being disqualified from the tournament — and “the trigger of a major offense investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions.”

Shortly after the announcement, Osaka withdrew from the tournament. 

“Hey everyone, this isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” Osaka shared in a statement at the time.

“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.”

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