Gymnastics: When the head paralyzes the body: this is what a sports psychologist says about the decline of Biles

Simone Biles began discussing her withdrawal from the Olympics. Sports psychologist Cord Bitter is one of those people who knows about such situations from his work with active people.

Athletes guarantee maximum attention in two situations: when they win or fail with a bang. Simone Biles turned the world of professional sports upside down for a moment. The American gymnast triumphed by admitting failure. Since then, colleagues, coaches and experts have been discussing the issue. Emotions play a role, and they’re not very rare.

On the one hand, the gymnast received an understanding and thanked her Thursday on Twitter: “The overflowing love and support I received made it clear to me that I am more than my accomplishments and gymnasts. I didn’t believe in that before.”

Due to mental issues, the 24-year-old started the all-around singles competition on Wednesday Olympic Games Canceled in Tokyo. The day before, the four-time Olympic champion was knocked out of the all-around final after just one machine.

Simone Biles talks about ‘fighting demons’

“I say mental health comes first. So sometimes it’s okay to sit out in the big competitions to focus on yourself. It shows how strong you really are as a competitor and as a person, rather than just fighting your way in,” said Beals, speaking of the “fight against demons” before the competition. .

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In the world of winners and champions, there seems to be no room for weakness. The head should work, at worst by suppressing and masking problems. Cord Peter is not supposed to judge the Beals case from a distance. But the sports psychologist from Berlin knows the pressure that athletes have to deal with. “She is now 24 and has probably been in competitive sports for nearly 20 years. It’s clear that something has grown up inside of her that she can’t stand,” Peter says, adding, “She may have put up with a situation for years that she couldn’t actually handle. She wanted to meet the huge expectations of the environment and the media. Now it is clear that she has reached a point where she can no longer move forward,” Peter suspects.

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With sporting successes, the pressure increases

At her first Olympics in Brazil in 2016, Biles rose as a star to gymnastics heaven. With four gold medals and one bronze, she was one of the faces of the Rio competition. Peter, who mainly supported athletes and swimmers in terms of sports psychology at Berlin Sportforum Hohenschoonhausen, knows the situation: “When you first participate in the Olympic Games, being there is everything, and every success is great. The second time, the pressure increases to repeat successes. This can lead to severe mental stress.” The decisive factor in this case is the “psychosocial system” in which the athlete moves, that is, the environment, the family, the training set. Another factor is age. “You’re not as comfortable as you were when you were in your 20s, and you wonder what happens if you don’t meet expectations,” says the sports psychologist. The Biles competitions are scheduled to take place in Tokyo during prime times in the United States.

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has been eliminated early from the Olympic tournament in Tokyo.

Photo: Seth Wenig/AP/dpa

In her candid words, the American has gained a lot of understanding, which is still unnatural in the world of better, faster, tougher women and men in professional sports. Naomi Osaka felt it. The Japanese lit the Olympic flame in Tokyo. The four-time Grand Slam winner was traded as a medal candidate and Retired early in Tokyo. Before French Open In Paris, the tennis player announced that she would not appear at the mandatory press conferences.

Public reactions followed the familiar pattern: incredible. stuck up. What does she allow herself? Organizers fined $15,000 and threatened to ban the tournament. Osaka came before other possible penalties with an early exit from the tournament.

Boris Becker deals a powerful blow against Osaka

The 23-year-old revealed that she has struggled with depression since the US Open in 2018. She felt vulnerable in France and wanted to avoid further mental damage. So no press conferences were held, which were poorly called in advance. Osaka initially followed the old style of professional sports: she showed no weakness. On, on, as was the motto of former national goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.

At best, the Japanese received a jolt in the head from many colleagues and experts. Boris Becker dealt a major blow in an interview with The Times. The German tennis icon, who remained in attack mode, said: “If you can’t handle the media, it’s very difficult to be a professional tennis player. Is that really pressure? Isn’t it stress when you don’t have food on the table? When do you have to feed your family and you don’t have to? Work? You’re 23, you’re healthy and you’re rich, and your family is fine – where’s the damn stress?”

Ex-footballer Didi Hamann describes the withdrawal as a disrespect for the team

Didi Hamann reacted the same way in the Beals case. On Twitter, the former professional soccer player called the gymnast’s withdrawal a disrespect for her teammates. Everyone who participates in the competition must also be able to participate. Basta. Hamann’s opinion leaves no room for sensitivity: “If surrender and failure is the new win, I am out.”

Rigor against the opponent and oneself – in the best sports, everything, but in fact everything, is subject to the principle of performance. Broken bones or torn ligaments are accepted as an excuse. Yes, it is proof that you really got it all out of your body. The fact that mental problems or depression are diseases like many others and can affect anyone has not yet crossed the minds of many people.

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