Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'

Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'

(CNN)After Simone Biles’ withdrawal from both the women’s team gymnastics final and the individual all-around competition to focus on her mental health, other Olympic athletes have said they’ve come off social media platforms to protect their own mental well-being.

Biles — one of the greatest gymnasts of all time — stepped away from a dramatic team competition on Tuesday, citing mental health concerns in an attempt to protect “her body and mind.” On Wednesday, USA Gymnastics announced she would not be competing in the individual event, a decision they supported “wholeheartedly.” And in light of Biles’ decision to prioritize her own mental state over competing, some gold medal-winning athletes at Tokyo 2020 have said they’ve taken steps to protect their own health.

    Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus, who has won two Olympic gold medals at Tokyo 2020 in the 200m and 400m freestyle, has said she has deleted every social media app on her phone to avoid “external pressure.”

      “I think as much as messages from everyone is really beautiful, and it’s good to look at it a little bit, it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming,” she said after her victory in her latest duel with American Katie Ledecky in the women’s 200m freestyle final on Wednesday. Read More Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesSimone Biles competes in the floor exercise during the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, in October 2019.Hide Caption 1 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles poses after winning the gold medal in the floor exercise at the 2013 World Championships.Hide Caption 2 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles dodges a bee flying near her during the medal ceremony after winning gold in the all-around final of the 2014 World Championships.Hide Caption 3 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles practices in Houston in January 2016.Hide Caption 4 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles competes on the balance beam at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.Hide Caption 5 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesFrom left, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian, Biles, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas celebrate winning the gold medal during the team final of the 2016 Olympics.Hide Caption 6 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles looks on during competition at the 2016 Olympics.Hide Caption 7 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles reacts to a camera after winning the individual all-around final at the 2016 Olympics.Hide Caption 8 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles competes on the uneven bars at the 2016 Olympics.Hide Caption 9 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles’ grandfather, Ron Biles, and his wife, Nellie, watch as she waits on the podium to receive her gold medal after winning the floor final of the 2016 Olympics. They took in Simone and her younger sister, Adria, and then formally adopted them when Simone was just 6 because Simone’s mom was battling addiction to drugs and alcohol. Hide Caption 10 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles competes on the floor at the 2016 Olympics.Hide Caption 11 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles and other Olympic athletes play “Hungry Hungry Humans” on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon.Hide Caption 12 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles sits with Anna Wintour and Maria Sharapova during New York Fashion Week in September 2016.Hide Caption 13 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesFirst lady Michelle Obama rests her elbow on Biles’ head as President Barack Obama speaks during an Olympic athletes event at the White House in September 2016.Hide Caption 14 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles takes a photo with a young fan in her hometown of Houston in September 2016.Hide Caption 15 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles speaks onstage during Glamour’s Women of the Year event in 2016.Hide Caption 16 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles competes in “Dancing with the Stars” with Sasha Farber in 2017.Hide Caption 17 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles speaks after receiving the ESPY Award for best female athlete in 2017.Hide Caption 18 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles performs with the Houston Texans cheerleaders in December 2017.Hide Caption 19 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles competes on the uneven bars during the 2018 World Championships.Hide Caption 20 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles rests behind teammates during qualifying sessions for the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.Hide Caption 21 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles performs on the floor during the 2018 World Championships.Hide Caption 22 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles performs on the uneven bars at the 2019 World Championships.Hide Caption 23 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles celebrates after winning the beam apparatus final at the 2019 World Championships.Hide Caption 24 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles becomes the first woman in history to land a Yurchenko double pike vault in competition during the GK US Classic in May 2021.Hide Caption 25 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles lands awkwardly while competing in the team all-around at the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021. Biles stumbled on the vault landing and then pulled out of the competition over mental-health concerns.Hide Caption 26 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Photos: Superstar gymnast Simone BilesBiles wears her warm-up gear after she was pulled from the team all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics on July 27. She “will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. The gymnastics body announced the next day that Biles had also withdrawn from the individual all-around competition to focus on her mental health.Hide Caption 27 of 27Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'Gold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure'“So I’m only really speaking to my family, a tiny bit, not that much either. So I just tried to not read anything because I think that adds external pressure. I mean, I got my best friend last night to log into my Instagram to post a post for me. “So I didn’t even log on and post but she said, like, ‘Mate, your notifications are out of control,'” the 20-year-old added. “So when I log back on, it’s going to be a bit hectic, I think. But I think it’s good to be able to be off that when you’re racing. It’s just another thing that you don’t have to worry about.”After setting a new Olympic record of 53.50 seconds in the 200m to claim her second gold of the Games, Titmus admitted that while she had heard of Biles pulling out, she is trying to focus on herself while she’s competing. “It’s a little bit strange, actually at an Olympic Games, and there’s multiple events going on,” she told the media. “But I feel like when you’ve got such narrow focus, you only really think about what you’re doing. And for me, this just feels like another swim meet. So I really am not looking too much externally.”READ: Fukushima, intended to celebrate recovery from nuclear disaster, will have an ‘unfortunate’ lack of fans for Japan’s Olympic baseball gameGold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' Titmus reacts with her coach Dean Boxall after winning the gold medal in the women’s 200m freestyle.Overcoming heartbreakFor Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten, coming off social media was a choice she made to preserve her mental state after her heartbreaking silver medal in the women’s road race on Sunday. As she crossed the line after completing the 147-kilometer course, she threw her arms aloft in celebration, thinking she’d won the gold medal. However, she did not realize that Austria’s Anna Kiesenhofer had crossed the finish line well ahead of her competitors to take gold. And in an effort to cope with the backlash she might have received on social media in the aftermath to her heartbreaking moment, van Vleuten decided to just stay off it.After finally claiming a gold in the individual time trial on Wednesday, van Vleuten said she closed herself off from social media to aid her preparation. Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videosGold medal-winning athletes swerve social media to avoid 'external pressure' van Vleuten celebrates as she crosses the finishing line of the women’s road race to win the silver medal.”I closed myself from social media, and the message I took home from the road race was that I was in my best possible shape,” she told the media.

        “I let everyone in the media … I left the Twitter account closed,” she added. “I let everyone talk but the message I took from it said: I nailed it again to be in my best possible shape ever.”