LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — Some young gymnasts in Luzerne County are applauding the surprise decision by Olympic athlete Simone Biles to remove herself from her team's competition in Tokyo after stumbling during a vault.
Biles later said she did it to protect her team and her physical health but also to preserve her mental health as well.
A group of gymnasts show off their skills here during class at Northeast Gymnastics Academy in Wilkes-Barre.
Of course, with the Olympic games taking place in Tokyo, they are definitely watching the gymnastics portion.
Though they may be young, they understand why Olympic star athlete Simone Biles removed herself from her team's competition after stumbling during a vault.
“I feel that she did this because she wanted to protect her teammates and not let them down,” said Iris Demarzio, 11.
“I think that she was just doing this for a reason so her team could get to a higher level because she didn't want to mess up the scores and then bring them down to the bottom,” said Kylie Kowalczyk, Harding.
Team USA won the silver after Biles bowed out.
Later Biles said she left to protect her team and her physical health but also her mental health, making her another major athlete to bring light to the issue.
“She wanted to keep her mind healthy and there's a lot of pressure being in the Olympics,” said Joclyn Gates, Orangeville.
The girls' coach, Elena Lagoski is a graduate of this academy and got a full ride to Michigan State competing as a gymnast for the school.
“With gymnastics, if you're mentally not in the right state, you could seriously injure yourself. Especially Simone going up how many feet in the air,” said Lagoski.
The academy referred us to Carl Daubert, a mental performance coach who works with athletes in the Wilkes-Barrre area, including at the academy.
“Stress and anxiety reduction, confidence building, motivation training,” said Daubert. “I try to treat the mental side very similar to the physical side.”
Simone Biles is qualified to compete in individual events later this week, but it's not been determined if she plans to do so.