"She is a role model for many young women around the world, and now she is back," said Simone Biles' primary therapist, Robert Andrews. Andrews told "Relevo," 10 years after taking over Biles' mental health, how to handle a world-class athlete.
"I worked on this with Simone from March 2013 to July 2017," the expert said. He said he could discuss part of the therapy since the gymnast had done so in her book and biographical film. Biles and the therapist struggled most with "fighting that old culture of stoicism where it seems like a gymnast is not having fun."
Her psychological hard work paid off in 2013, when she won her first of three successive individual all-around world championships in Antwerp, Nanning, and Glasgow.
"At the Rio Games, she won four Olympic golds and one bronze medal," Andrews said, adding that a balance beam mistake might have cost her five golds. According to Biles, "I had to hire four people in my practice due to the work overload that arrived in 2016."
Treating the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic winner required helping her "take her foot off the accelerator or, in other words, not use so much energy," Andrews said. Two years ago, she was trying to learn a new everyday skill, so he texted her: "Remember the concept of taking your foot off the gas."
Andrews describes Biles as "by her inner strength, the courage to overcome adversity." He noted her bravery in pausing her career in 2016 to address her mental health despite criticism.
"I think the best example is that she retired and not only made that decision for her mental health but also her physical health." "What Simone did was defend herself mentally, physically, and emotionally," Andrews said, adding that her example "gave many athletes permission to ask for help."