Simone Biles’s NFL star boyfriend praises gymnast’s ‘unmatched strength and courage’ after her withdrawal

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Simone Biles’s boyfriend has expressed his support for the gymnast, who withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics (AP)
Simone Biles’s boyfriend has expressed his support for the gymnast, who withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics (AP)

Simone Biles’s boyfriend has publicly supported her decision to withdraw from competing at the Tokyo Olympics, telling his partner that he will “ride with you through whatever”.

Jonathan Owens, the 26-year-old safety player for the NFL’s Houston Texans, voiced his pride and support for Biles on Instagram on Thursday, where he shared an album of photos of himself and the Olympic gymnast.

In the caption, Owens wrote: “Imma ride with you through whatever baby,” before praising Biles’ “unmatched” strength and courage.

“Your strength and courage is unmatched and you inspire me more and more everyday SB,” Owens continued. “You always gone be my champ baby and don’t you ever forget that, I love you so much and I can’t wait till you come home and I get to see that beautiful smile again. You know I’m always here for you baby.”

The sweet post comes after Owens also shared his support in the comments section of an Instagram post in which the gymnast had celebrated Team USA getting on second slot on the podium.

Biles, 24, had shared an image of her teammates; Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum in celebration, writing:“OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALISTS. I’m SO proud of these girls right here. You girls are incredibly brave & talented! I’ll forever be inspired by your determination to not give up and to fight through adversity! They stepped up when I couldn’t. thanks for being there for me and having my back! forever love y’all.”

Underneath the picture, Owens wrote: “I’m so proud of y’all.”

Owens’s supportive message was written alongside messages from Biles’s teammates.

“You will forever be loved. We can’t thank you enough. You have such a huge inspiration on all of us. We wouldn’t have done it without you,” wrote Chiles.

Lee commented, “Love you so much. thank you for inspiring me every single day. you are not only an amazing gymnast but you are also an amazing person.”

Biles and Owens were first rumoured to be dating in summer 2020 and it was confirmed via Instagram last August. Owens has since stated he had not heard about Biles before meeting her.

Following her decision to stop competing at Tokyo, she told reporters that she was “putting mental health first”.

A spokesperson from USA Gymnastics told USA Today that Biles stepped down from the competition due to a medical complication.

“Per USAG: Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions,” tweeted their columnist Nancy Armour

In an official statement, the USA Gymnastics said, “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

Biles has spoken about some of the traumatic experiences had in training before, such as being one of the victims of Larry Nassar. He was a Team USA doctor who was jailed in 2018 for up to 175 years for sexually assaulting hundreds of gymnasts, many of whom were children.

The four-time gold medallist also spoke about getting the “twisties” while performing her routines as a reason to why she was leaving the competition.

Biles told reporters: “I had no idea where I was in the air. I could have hurt myself.”

For those not familiar with gymnastic terminology, Sean Melton, who competes on the national team, gave an explanation to The Washington Post. He described the “twisties” as a scary sensation when gymnasts feel they are losing control of their bodies while doing stunts.

“Simply, your life is in danger when you’re doing gymnastics,” Mr Melton told the Post. “And then, when you add this unknown of not being able to control your body while doing these extremely dangerous skills, it adds an extreme level of stress. And it’s terrifying, honestly, because you have no idea what is going to happen.”

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