Michael Phelps throws his support behind Simone Biles after her mental health Olympic exit

Michael Phelps supported fellow Olympian Simone Biles and her decision to withdraw from two events at the Tokyo Games due to mental health issues, saying athletes need more support and people they can trust.

Phelps, who has been open about his own mental health issues and contemplating suicide after the 2012 Games, appeared on NBC’s Today to say he respected Biles’ decision to pull out.

‘We are people. We have emotions. We deal with things like everyone else does. It is difficult.

“I would say we want support, we feel everyone’s love,” he said.

On Tuesday night, while covering the Games for NBC, he said: “Mental health over the past 18 months is something people are talking about.

‘Nobody is perfect. So yeah, it’s okay not to be okay,” Biles’ decision added “broke his heart.”

Phelps, who has been open about his own mental health issues and contemplating suicide after the 2012 Games, appeared on NBC’s Today to say he respected Biles’ decision to pull out.

Biles will be shown in the stands in Tokyo on Wednesday night after announcing not to participate in Thursday's solo competition

Biles will be shown in the stands in Tokyo on Wednesday night after announcing not to participate in Thursday’s solo competition

Biles, 24, widely regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time, has withdrawn from Thursday’s solo event after withdrawing from Wednesday’s team competition.

It is unclear if she will participate in the three other events she will participate in.

Michael Phelps said he considered suicide after the 2012 Olympics.  He said he would have 'intense' lows and periods of depression after the Games

Michael Phelps said he considered suicide after the 2012 Olympics. He said he would have ‘intense’ lows and periods of depression after the Games

She didn’t release a statement about the decision, but on Wednesday she retweeted another gymnast’s statement saying she had endured enough trauma after enduring horrific sexual abuse by pedophile doctor Larry Nassar.

He remains in prison. Biles and other gymnasts who abused Nassar were critical of USA Gymnastics’ handling of their complaints about Nassar before he was jailed.

Tuesday night, Phelps said in his NBC coverage, “The easiest way for me to say this is athletes, and Olympic athletes in general.

“We need someone we can trust, someone who can let us be ourselves and listen. Let us become vulnerable.

“Someone who isn’t going to try to fix us. We carry a lot of weight on our shoulders, and it’s a challenge,” he said.

Phelps won 28 Olympic medals before retiring after the Rio Games in 2016.

Biles retweeted this message from Los Angeles fitness trainer Andrea Orris on Wednesday

Pictured: USA Gymnastics' full statement posted to social media announcing that Biles is withdrawing from general competition

Pictured: USA Gymnastics’ full statement posted to social media announcing that Biles is withdrawing from general competition

He later revealed that after the 2012 London Olympics, he had battled depression and contemplated suicide.

He said he once didn’t leave his room for five days because he was in such a deep depression that he felt like the “weakest” person in the world.

Will Simone Biles continue ANY of her individual events?

She is still scheduled to compete in the jump, uneven bars, floor exercise and balance beam finals.

Should she choose to participate — and provided she gets the approval of USA Gymnastics — Biles’ upcoming events schedule is:

  • SUNDAY 1 AUGUST: Vault final and uneven bars final
  • MONDAY 2 AUGUST: Final floor exercise
  • TUESDAY 3 AUGUST: Balance beam final

Biles struggled to qualify for these events, finishing in eighth and last place for uneven bars, sixth place for balance beam and second place for floor exercises.

He said that for him, the pressure of the event was not the hard part, but the “intense low” he felt afterward.

Since his retirement, he has been a mental health advocate. He now works with the Talkspace organization.

On Wednesday, Biles said she would not compete in Thursday night’s individual all-around final, where she would defend her Olympic title.

She also retweeted a statement from another gymnast who linked her decision to withdraw with the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of pedophile doctor Larry Nassar, who is still in prison for his abuse of dozens of girls, including former and current gymnasts of Team USA.

The statement read: “We’re talking about the same girl who was molested by her team doctor throughout her childhood and teenage years.

“That girl, at 24, has endured more trauma than most people will ever go through in their lives.”

Biles has routinely criticized the way USA Gymnastics handles Nassar’s abuse of the athletes.

She has made no statement about her withdrawal and has appeared on the gymnastics floor to support her teammates.

Biles withdrew from the team competition for the first time on Tuesday, saying she needed to focus on her mental health and wellness.

She announced on Wednesday that she will also be withdrawing from Thursday’s solo competition after a medical evaluation.

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