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Simone Biles

She was praised for putting her mental health first during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

simone biles
Ainhoa Barcelona
Content Managing Editor
12 November 2021
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As the most decorated gymnast of all time with 32 Olympic and World Championship medals, fans of the sporting world will instantly recognise the name Simone Biles. The 24-year-old took home five medals at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, but earlier this year at the 2021 Tokyo tournament, Simone made headlines when she bowed out of the competition.

Her wish to prioritise her mental health garnered some backlash from critics, but on the whole, Simone was praised for publicly acknowledging her issues and credited with starting a wider conversation about the role of mental health in sports.

Mind charity tweeted: "Simone Biles is incredibly brave for speaking out, and highlighting the importance of looking after your mental heath. Simone is a role model for women and girls everywhere. She deserves our applause, respect, appreciation – and above all our support right now."

As well as championing mental health, Simone advocates for a range of issues, from foster youth education to disaster relief.

In 2016, Simone, who spent time in and out of the foster care system as a child, teamed up with Mattress Firm to support their Foster Kids programme. The programme donated more than 610,000 items such as clothes and school supplies to foster kids and their families.

As global ambassador for non-profit, online college, The University of the People, Simone also launched the Simone Biles Legacy Scholarship Fund for foster kids and others achieve their college dreams.

"Being a foster child myself, and knowing what it means to have the odds stacked against you, I decided to give a hand in opening this scholarship fund for foster kids and others and hope others will join me," Simone said. "I know that dedication and desire can make the impossible possible and I want to help remove barriers that keep a college degree out of reach for those that truly want it."

In 2017 when her hometown of Houston was struck by Hurricane Harvey, Simone and her family volunteered at a flood distribution centre where they helped sort through donated clothes and other emergency supplies.

See the full Kind List here

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