Gabby Douglas Shares Support for Naomi Osaka, Says Last Olympics 'Really Did a Number on Me'
"Every person knows what they need to do to fix themselves, to heal themselves, and everyone's different," Gabby Douglas told USA Today of Naomi Osaka's decision to withdraw from the 2021 French Open
The celebrated Olympic gymnast, 25, recently spoke to USA Today about mental health, saying the 2016 Games "really did a number on me."
"Coming from that [I focused on] really healing myself, healing my mind and my body," said Douglas. "I'm not on social media a lot because social media did damage to my personality, in a way. So [I've] just been taking years off of social media, off my phone, and really just kind of getting back to who I am."
In terms of Osaka, 23, "Every person knows what they need to do to fix themselves, to heal themselves, and everyone's different," said Douglas.
She added, "Being an athlete, we go through so much already. If you need to step back, that's what you need to do."
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Osaka withdrew from competition at the Grand Slam tournament on May 31, citing her mental health after she declined to attend the mandatory post-match press events and was fined $15,000 following the first requirement she skipped.
"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," the tennis star wrote on social media 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," she added. "More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly."
RELATED VIDEO: Grand Slam Leaders Pledge to Address Tennis Players' Mental Health Concerns, Commend Naomi Osaka
Earlier this month, Calm — the company behind the popular meditation and mindfulness app — announced that they will pay the fine for any player who plans on opting out of media appearances for mental health reasons during the 2021 Grand Slam.
The company will also match the fine with a $15,000 donation to French youth sports charity Laureus. In addition, Calm is donating $15,000 to the organization in support of "Osaka's decision to prioritize her mental health," they announced on Twitter.
On June 2, officials from the French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australian Open pledged to help create a healthier environment for players' mental wellness off the court.
"On behalf of the Grand Slams, we wish to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way possible as she takes time away from the court. She is an exceptional athlete and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems appropriate," their statement read, in part. "We commend Naomi for sharing in her own words the pressures and anxieties she is feeling and we empathize with the unique pressures tennis players may face."
"Together as a community we will continue to improve the player experience at our tournaments, including as it relates to media," the statement continued. "We intend to work alongside the players, the tours, the media and the broader tennis community to create meaningful improvements. As Grand Slams, we aim to create the stage for the players to achieve the highest accolades in our sport."
If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.