"She's the best," said Tessa Quinn Suplina, a 10-year old who practices at Gotham Gymnastics in Brooklyn. "She's the greatest of all time, and I really look up to her and everything she does."
Biles, who won four gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, this week cited the pressure of living up to expectations and a need to protect her mental health for her decision to pull out of the team competition in Tokyo. The 24-year-old subsequently withdrew from the individual all-around competition as well.
"I was shocked as the whole world was. We all, of course, wanted to see Simone out there, doing her thing," said Maya Davis, a gymnast and recent graduate of La Guardia Performing Arts High School. "She's doing skills that nobody else in the world is doing. Skills that are super dangerous. And she really showed the whole world, especially young gymnasts, that you don't have to sacrifice everything, your physical and mental well-being for titles and medals."
“The gymnasts had mixed feelings because they're huge fans,” said co-owner and head coach of the Gotham Gymnastics gym Daniel B. Miranda. “They didn't fully understand why at first, and then they, as they thought through and as we spoke about it, they understood that the difficulty and the amount of pressure she is under and the amount of time she waited to go to the Olympics and all these factors, factoring in this moment and for them was a little bit of disappointment.”