Rochester’s gymnastics community on Biles’s decision to withdraw from team competition

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — When all eyes are on you, the pressure can be overwhelming. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles seemed to feel that pressure Tuesday morning, and after her vault performance, she chose to withdraw from the team competition citing her mental health.

News10NBC’s Jennifer Ly went to the Gymnastics Training Center of Rochester to see what it is like competing in a sport when the bars are literally set high.

“This is not a sport where you can have your mind playing games with you and compete, so I personally think it was a wonderful decision to give her a day and just be ‘Simone’,” said Sarah Jane Clifford, president of the Gymnastics Training Center of Rochester.

In a sport that begins training and instills competition at such a young age, News10NBC’s Jenny Ly asked Clifford how she walks that fine line with the young gymnasts that come through her doors.

“In this environment, I have chosen to make everything positive. We give them a suggestion to improve and so they want to please us because they know if they do the correction, they will get a compliment. We call it a ‘compliment sandwich.’ ‘Good job! Next time let’s try this!’” Clifford said.

Emmalee Moore, an incoming freshman at Salisbury University, says she can relate to the U.S. Olympian and commends Biles for pulling out

“As a former gymnast I definitely think that the amount of pressure that she’s under is really common. It’s just pressure from coaches to the best, the pressure to get a new skill or compete it perfectly can definitely take a big mental toll on any gymnast,” said Moore, who teaches and coaches at the Gymnastics Training Center of Rochester.

Having gone through her own burnout, the former gymnast and coach has her own advice for aspiring gymnasts.

“Don’t push yourself to be like someone else. Don’t push yourself to do a skill that someone else is doing. I know I wanted to push myself hard and it always ended badly,” Moore said.

WATCH: News10NBC interviews Dr. Craig Cypher, sport psychologist at URMC about Biles’s decision to withdraw

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