Three-time Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes said Biles recognizes she is “very much a trailblazer in helping to change the culture of the sport of gymnastics.”
After Biles earned a bronze medal in the women’s balance beam finals, Dawes said she “wasn’t afraid watching her” during the event, Biles’ first competition after withdrawing from other to focus on her mental well-being.
“She wasn’t going to put herself in a situation where she was going to possibly injure herself,” Dawes, the first Black American to win an individual Olympic event medal in gymnastics, said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“Even when she earned the bronze medal, it took me back to my 1996 Olympic Games, when I came back after falling in the all-around to come back for my floor individual event finals and I earned a bronze medal, and even to this day, my bronze means so much more to me because of the journey than my gold medal does, as well, and I’m sure she feels the same way,” Dawes said.
Dawes commended Biles, as well as Naomi Osaka and Michael Phelps, for being open about mental health issues.
“It’s creating this national and global dialogue about it. I think that’s very important, and that’s where it starts, and many people are going to feel comfortable talking about mental issues they have, and recognizing that they are human,” Dawes said.