UFC color commentator, comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan is hitting back at criticism against Olympic gymnast Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from both individual and team finals events in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Simone Biles is one of the biggest names in gymnastics, and for good reason; the star athlete, 24, has scored over 30 Olympic and World Championship medals and is the most decorated American gymnast of all time.
It stands to reason that, with a record such as hers, there’s a ton of pressure to perform perfectly at high-stakes events like the Olympics — and that pressure can sometimes boil over in serious ways.
Why did Simone Biles withdraw from Olympic Finals?
On July 27, Biles withdrew from individual competition at the 2020 Olympics, a day after withdrawing from the team final.
While at first it was reported that a medical issue was the reason for her exit, it was later revealed that Biles’ mental health was what prompted her to pull out after seeming to struggle with the vault.
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“I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times,” Simone said of her role as an Olympic gymnast. “I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me, but damn, sometimes it’s hard hahaha!”
Biles’ decision to withdraw has sparked a slew of debate online, with many commenters lashing out at the athlete for prioritizing her mental health over the competition.
Joe Rogan comments on criticism
Joe Rogan discussed the backlash during a recent episode of his podcast, where he called the ongoing criticism “disgusting” and noted that Biles regularly takes ADHD medication — something that’s at odds with Japan’s purported stance on the drug to treat certain issues.
“So many people are sh***ing on her online and calling her a coward,” Rogan said. “It’s disgusting. You have no idea what’s going on in her head. She’s supposed to play when she’s suicidal? She’s supposed to play when she’s freaking out?
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“Is she supposed to do gymnastics when she’s literally losing her mind?” he continued. “When people get off prescription drugs… I don’t know what it’s like to get off Ritalin. But I would imagine it’s not fun.”
Biles’ use of ADHD medication has come under scrutiny multiple times throughout her career, although she has received permission to use the drug by the WADA under therapeutic use exemption.