Simone Biles on Pressure to Succeed at Olympics: 'I Truly Do Feel I Have Weight of the World on My Shoulders'
Simone Biles is shaking off her preliminary round errors and embracing a "fresh start" for the all-around and individual event finals.
On Monday, the five-time Olympic medalist (four golds, one bronze) reflected on her first day of gymnastics at the Summer Games in a post on Instagram. "Prelims ☑️ now to prepare for finals. It wasn't an easy day or my best but I got through it," Biles wrote, seemingly referencing the stumbles she made on floor and vault in Tokyo on Sunday.
"I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn't affect me but damn sometimes it's hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke!" the 24-year-old two-time Olympian said.
"BUT I'm happy my family was able to be with me virtually🤍 they mean the world to me!" Biles added, sharing a selfie she took of herself and a monitor which showed her parents cheering her on from the U.S.
Many friends and famous fans left supportive messages in the comment section, including track Olympian and fellow Athleta ambassador Allyson Felix, who wrote: "We are all so proud of you already! You are authentically enough. You got this."
In addition, gymnastics icon and NBC analyst Nastia Liukin shared a heartfelt post on her Instagram Story in support of Biles.
"I feel like at times, people forget that even the very best in the world are still human - with hearts, nerves, pain, stress, anxiety, pressure," said Liukin, who won more medals than any gymnast at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and tied the U.S. gymnastics record for the most at a single Games, with five total including one gold, three silver and one bronze.
"So let's continue to spread our love and support to our athletes who are doing something SO difficult already, and then having to also handle the weight of an entire nation and world on their shoulders during a pandemic without fans. AND their number one supporters, their family," Liukin, 31, added.
On Sunday, the Biles-led team made uncharacteristically sloppy errors during the preliminary round at Ariake Gymnastics Centre. Biles, Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum are in second with a score of 170.562. Russia leads with 1.067 points ahead of the Americans.
"I feel we did a pretty good job. Obviously, there are little things we need to work on, so we'll go back and practice and work on that, just so we can do our best performance at team finals because that's what matters," Biles said after completing the qualifying round. "We're really striving for a top three [finish]."
On Monday, Chiles also reflected on her performance from a day prior. "Yesterday wasn't the meet of my life but I do have to say I learned a lot from it and ready to go out and show the world why I am here. Thank you to everyone, from my family all the way to my fans. I appreciate you!!!! LETS GO," she wrote on Instagram.
Biles, the reigning Olympic all-around champion, and Lee will be the two qualifiers to the all-around from Team USA. Both are also at the top of the all-around standings with Biles, despite her errors, earning 57.731 and Lee finishing with 57.166.
Biles, who also made the event finals in vault, floor, bars and beam and could win a record six golds, leads on vault with a score of 15.183.
The women's gymnastics team final is scheduled to take place on Tuesday. The individual all-around final is set for Thursday.
Jade Carey, who is competing as an individual and not on the team, qualified for two Olympic gymnastics event finals (floor and vault).
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.