Simone Biles on postponed Olympics: 'I cried, but ultimately it was the right decision'
Simone Biles knows there are bigger issues involved with the coronavirus pandemic, but she couldn't help but feel crushed when hearing that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have been postponed to next year.
"I didn't really know what to feel,'' she said in an exclusive interview on TODAY Wednesday. "I just kind of sat there. I cried, but ultimately it was the right decision."
The reigning gymnastics world champion checked her phone in the locker room during training on Monday to learn that Olympic organizers postponed the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to next year to protect the health of the athletes and everyone else involved.
"We need to make sure that everyone in the U.S. and around the world is healthy and safe,'' she said. "It was hard, but it's OK."
The Olympics will now be held from July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021, and the Paralympics will be held from Aug. 24-Sept. 5.
The 23-year-old dynamo is the most decorated gymnast of all time, male or female, with 30 combined medals between the Olympics and the world championships. She was set to be one of the headliners of this year's Olympics, but now that will have to wait another year.
"Physically, I have no doubts that my coaches will get me back in shape," Biles said. "But mentally, going another year, I think that's what's gonna take the toll on me and all of us and most of the athletes.
"So we have to stay in shape mentally just as much as physically, and that will play a big factor moving forward, listening to your body and your mind."
Biles has also joined athletes from around the world to raffle off autographed items to raise money as part of the "Athletes for Relief" effort that will go to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy's COVID-19 Response Fund.
"In a crisis like this, I feel like everyone wants to jump up to their feet and help," she said. "I have that opportunity, so by donating that (autographed leotard), it will make sure that kids don't fall behind in school and that small businesses are still on their feet, so it was a good time to do that and I'm glad I did."