- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Michael Phelps said Simone Biles' withdrawal from the team event for mental health broke his heart.
Phelps said Olympians have a lot of pressure on them and need people who can offer genuine support.
Phelps also said it's a good thing Biles and other athletes are speaking up about mental health.
Olympic legend Michael Phelps said on NBC that he was crushed to learn about Simone Biles' struggles with mental health.
Biles on Tuesday withdrew from the women's gymnastics team event, saying afterward that she was mentally "not there." Biles described having the shakes in the lead-up to the event, feeling nervous about doing her skills, and feeling the weight of expectations on her.
"It broke my heart," Phelps said of Biles' decision.
Phelps knows as well as anyone the pressure of being the leading face of Team USA and the expectations that come with being a medal-favorite. Phelps said athletes need genuine support.
"The Olympics are overwhelming," Phelps said. "There's a lot of emotions that go into it ... The easiest way for me to say it is, I think athletes, in general ... we need someone who we can trust. Somebody that can let us be ourselves and listen. Allow us to become vulnerable. Somebody who's not going to try to fix us.
"We carry a lot of things, a lot of weight on our shoulders. And it's challenging, especially when we have the lights on us and all these expectations that are being thrown on top of us."
Phelps has been vocal about his struggles with mental health. Phelps had told Sports Illustrated that after the 2012 Olympics, he "wanted to die." After he was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence in 2014, he got help by going to therapy.
Phelps also said that he struggled, at times, during the pandemic, calling it a scary time for people around the world.
Phelps said on NBC that he related to Biles saying in an Instagram post that she felt like he was carrying "the weight of the world" on his shoulders.
However, on Tuesday, Phelps noted that Biles' comments were the latest example of people speaking out about mental health and normalizing it.
"Mental health over the last 18 months is something people are talking about," Phelps said.
"We're human beings. Nobody is perfect. So yes, it is okay to not be okay. It's okay to go through ups and downs and emotional roller coasters.
"But I think the biggest thing is, we all have to ask for help sometimes, too, when we go through those times."
Read the original article on Insider