It was the news heard around the world: Simone Biles was withdrawing from the all-around gymnastics competition and team finals for her mental health during the Tokyo Olympics. While fans voiced their support on social media and applauded the athlete for being able to make such a huge decision after baring "the weight of the world on her shoulders," her teammates stepped up without hesitation and won the silver medal. Team USA gymnasts Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum sat down with Today's Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie to discuss Biles's decision as well as the huge honour of winning silver, and you can feel their emotions through the screen.
Almost immediately after hearing the news that Biles would not be competing that day, all eyes turned to McCallum, who had to hit the floor and do what they had been practicing for years. "I was really stressed because I knew that my routine probably set the whole mood for the rest of the meet," she said. "It was a lot of pressure . . . I was on the verge of tears, but I just knew that I had to do my gymnastics, nothing more, nothing less."
As for Chiles, competing on bars and beam were not exactly in her plans for the day, but with Biles out, it was her time to shine. "I truly knew in my body that I could pull out everything that I had," she said. "I did have to fill some humongous shoes out there, but I did it for a reason. I did it for her." And while Biles might not have been on the floor, she was on the sidelines, rooting for her team like the cheerleader she is. "She was with us the whole time, literally the whole time," Chiles added.
"We all understood what she was going through. We support her."
Biles had an immense amount of pressure on her, and her teammates didn't question her decision for one second. "I'm going to support her no matter what, I am her teammate, I am her best friend. She's my ride or die, I will forever be by her side," Chiles said. "She knows who she is . . . At that moment in time she was telling herself she didn't want to harm herself. We all understood what she was going through. We support her."
While it's unknown if Biles will compete in the remainder of the Games, her teammates will stand by her with whatever decision she makes. "We want what's best for her," McCallum said, to which her teammate agreed. "She's Simone for a reason, she's not a quitter. You will never see Simone go out there and not do what she knows she can do," Chiles said.
Whatever happens through the rest of the Games, we support Biles and her important decision to put her mental health first. Kotb said it best, "When you nailed that silver, it felt like gold to us."