SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair explained in a recent interview why she finds decorated Olympic gymnast Simone Biles to be an inspiration not just to her, but to all athletes.
The heavily-favoured American gymnast made headlines during the Tokyo Olympic Games when she withdrew herself from competition during the Women’s Team All-Around event, citing mental health concerns that made it dangerous for her to continue. Biles remained out of action until she returned to compete in the balance beam finals, securing a bronze medal.
When ViBe & Wrestling asked Bianca Belair what she thought of the situation, Belair responded:
Simone Biles is… I think she’s so inspiring for what she did, especially on such a big stage, and to allow herself to be vulnerable and put her mental health before her physical abilities and trying to accomplish something physically. And I think it speaks volumes as well about the team and the coaches that she had, the fact that they were able to support her, and they actually went out there and earned their silver medal but they still support her. I think that’s amazing, the message that it sends about athletes, how athletes… we’re human. And it’s so hard mentally, and any athlete can look at her and admire her for what she did, because there are so many times as athletes that we have felt ‘oh, maybe something’s not right’ but we still push through. And it’s ok to put your mental health first.”
The EST of WWE then opened up about her own past issues with mental health concerns, continuing:
“In college I had a coach who did that for me. I was struggling so much mentally with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and he benched me. He told me, ‘You have to go and talk to a doctor, you cannot get on the track until they clear you.’ So he put my mental health before anything else, and at the time I didn’t understand, but now that helped me so much as a human being and as an athlete too. Even to now, to this day, I understand. Like, I know my triggers, I know how to manage my mental health better. It’s still a marathon.”
The SmackDown Women’s Champion also credited her husband Montez Ford and her parents for being part of an incredible support system:
“And now it’s, for me, it’s just… my husband helps me so much. Even before WrestleMania he was giving me affirmations all throughout the day, every single day. Anytime I say anything that sounds like I was slightly doubting myself or I was scared, he was giving me affirmations. So surrounding myself with people that love me, my parents. And dealing with like, imposter syndrome sometimes like, be like ‘No, you can do this!’ And sometimes like, ‘Can I really do this? No, you can do this!’ But Simone Biles, she’s just inspiring for what she did and I think that any athlete can relate to her and it’s gonna help every athlete in all sports across the board.”
Bianca Belair is set to put her title on the line as she faces Sasha Banks for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at SummerSlam on August 21.
Credit: ViBe & Wrestling