Wayne County family says Biles’s decision to step back is relieving for young gymnasts

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ONTARIO, N.Y. (WHEC) — Families in our area are weighing in on Olympic athlete Simone Biles taking a step back from competing Tuesday to protect her mental health. Parents are trying to keep their kids positive when it comes to achieving athletic goals.

Addelyn Heiden, 10, says she looks up to Biles. Her parents say they applaud the athlete for being the type of role model to give up an Olympic medal to prioritize her mental health.

For about four years now, Addelyn has been working hard to perfect stunts in the gym and says she can understand the decision Biles has made after feeling pressure.

"It’s too stressful for her, it’s too stressful,” Addelyn said.

Addelyn said she gets how frustrating it is when "sticking it" seems impossible at times.

"I took a break one time because I couldn’t get my back handspring, but then I rejoined and I got my back handspring but now I don’t have my kip so I’m working on that,” Addelyn said.

Parents say they feel Biles has made the right decision to take a step back. They say choosing to stay could lead to more mental stress or worse, an injury.

"A similar situation of pressure happened to Addelyn one time where she couldn’t get her back handspring for a while and she was disappointed every time and was stressed out that she couldn’t get it, so I said let’s take a break. She’s doing way better now than she would have if we left her in there because of the stress that could build-up,” said Addelyn’s mother, Megan Heiden.

Megan says she can empathize with what Biles is going through but she’s also helping teach young people to prioritize their bodies because mental health and physical health are linked.

"I know it may be embarrassing for her, but for someone like Addelyn it’s relieving to see that even Olympic athletes make mistakes every once and a while, they’re not perfect,” Megan said.

Addelyn told News10NBC that this doesn’t change the way she feels about Biles being her role model and that if anything it’s pushing her even more to pursue the Olympics one day.