"I feel so lucky to have gotten to watch you all these years, but this week was a lesson in emotional intelligence and resilience," Taylor Swift wrote in a message to Simone Biles
Taylor Swift knows firsthand that “It’s Nice to Have a Friend.”
And this week, she was just that for Simone Biles, who proved she’s just as human as the rest of us by prioritizing her mental health and stepping away from numerous gymnastics finals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
On Aug. 3, Simone made her return to the Olympic stage for the balance beam competition. To celebrate, the artist recorded a special message that hyped up both Simone and her fans at home.
Set to Taylor’s 2020 song “This is Me Trying,” the dramatic NBC clip saw the four-time gold medalist preparing for her turn on the balance beam. Swift had narrated a video about Biles for NBC's coverage of the games, in which she called the gymnast "a hero."
"What do we want from our heroes?" Swift begins in the promo. "What do we expect from them? What do we need from them? What happens when they surprise us? When you have the attention of the world, everything you do takes on a bigger meaning. It can be a heavy burden. It can be a chance to change everything."
"Throughout the last week, her voice has been as significant as her talents," the singer says in the clip. "Her honesty as beautiful as the perfection that had long been her signature. But don't you see? It still is. She is perfectly human. And that's what makes it so easy to call her a hero."
Clearly touched by the video, Biles tweeted in response: "I'm crying how special. I love you @taylorswift13."
From her personal Twitter account, Swift then replied to Biles, "I cried watching YOU. I feel so lucky to have gotten to watch you all these years, but this week was a lesson in emotional intelligence and resilience."
"We all learned from you," she added. "Thank you."
Prior to the balance beam final, Biles pulled out of all of her previous individual events due to a case of what she has called the "twisties," a disorienting condition that causes an athlete to lose awareness in the air and endangers their safety.
The gymnast later explained that she withdrew from the competition to focus on her mental health, saying on social media at the time that her "mind & body are simply not in sync."
U.S.A. Gymnastics announced that Biles would be participating in the beam just 24 hours before the final event.
Biles ultimately scored 14.000 for her routine, while Guan Chenchen of China earned a score of 14.633 to take home the gold and her teammate Tang Xijing took silver with 14.233.
After the final, Biles told reporters that her aunt on her father's side "unexpectedly passed."
"That was another one, I was like, 'Oh my God. This week needs to be over,' " Biles' coach Cecile Canqueteau-Landi told reporters following the event. "I asked her what do you need. And she said, 'I just need some time.' I said, 'You call me, text me if you need anything I'll be here. Whatever that is.' She called her parents. She said, 'There's nothing I can do from over here. So I'm just going to finish my week and when I get home we'll deal with it.' "
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