Dominique Moceanu Supports Simone Biles, Reflects on 1996 Olympics

Dominique Moceanu is showing her support for Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics by reflecting on her own struggles at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

The former gymnast was just 14 years old when she competed as part of the “Magnificent 7,” the iconic gymnastics group that won the first-ever team gold medal for the United States. While Moceanu was undoubtedly victorious, she was struggling with an injury that resulted in her falling directly on her head during one of her events on balance beam.

“I was 14 y/o w/ a tibial stress fracture, left alone w/ no cervical spine exam after this fall,” Moceanu, now 39, tweeted on Wednesday. “I competed in the Olympic floor final minutes later. @Simone_Biles decision demonstrates that we have a say in our own health — ‘a say’ I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian.”

“In our sport, we essentially dive into a pool w/ no water,” she added. “When you lose your ability to find the ground — which appears to be part of @Simone_Biles decision — the consequences can be catastrophic. She made the right decision for the team & herself.”

I was 14 y/o w/ a tibial stress fracture, left alone w/ no cervical spine exam after this fall. I competed in the Olympic floor final minutes later. @Simone_Biles 🤍 decision demonstrates that we have a say in our own health—“a say” I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian. pic.twitter.com/LVdghdAh1g

Moceanu also addressed Biles’ exit in an interview with WKYC Channel 3, admitting she was initially “in shock” when she heard the news. 

“For us, it could be psychological, it could be our own interpretation of perfectionism, it could be the expectation of the weight of ‘everyone’s relying on me or counting on me,'” Moceanu explained, of the struggles gymnasts face while the world watches them compete. “The mental component is just as much a big part of your success as the physical, because if [your head] is not right on, you could get physically hurt — catastrophically hurt.”

Plus, the absence of an audience at this year’s Games due to COVID-19 concerns certainly plays a factor on performance, Moceanu said.

“In 1996, we had 30,000 people in the stands in the Georgia Dome,” she recalled. “There was a rush of adrenaline as you heard, ‘U-S-A! U-S-A!’ chanting, cheering, and that gives you that extra zest you need to say, ‘Game on. You’ve got this.’ And yes, when it’s quiet, it’s almost a little nerve-wracking.”

Happy 2️⃣5️⃣th Anniversary to the Magnificent Seven 🇺🇸 This team changed the landscape of U.S. gymnastics forever.
🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇 What are your most fond #Mag7 memories?#OnThisDay ⁦@NBCOlympics⁩ ⁦@OnHerTurf⁩ pic.twitter.com/TcQntftkxj

As ET reported earlier on Wednesday, USA Gymnastics announced that Biles would not be participating in the individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics, just one day after withdrawing from the gymnastics team competition.

NBC’s Mike Tirico made the announcement during the re-airing of the team competition, sharing the message from USA Gymnastics that, “After further medical evaluation, to focus on her mental health, it has been announced that Simone Biles is out of the all-around.”

USA Gymnastics shared a more detailed statement on social media, sharing their support for Biles’ decision. “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being,” the statement read. “Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

A number of celebrities, Olympians and friends have been sharing their support for Biles over the past few days, including her former Dancing With the Stars partner, Sasha Farber, who helped her choreograph her 2021 Olympic floor routine.

“I feel so much love for her. It was weird because I couldn’t believe it at first, but at the same time, I’ve never been to an Olympics, so I don’t know [what it’s like],” Farber exclusively told ET on Tuesday. “The pressure must be out of this world. Not only that, she’s literally holding all of America on her shoulders.”

“For this 24-year-old to be in that position … she is a phenomenal gymnast, everyone knows. But it just proves that you don’t know what’s going on inside of the other person sometimes, no matter how strong they look,” he continued. “So I really feel for her, but I know she’s going to get through this.”

Hear more in the video below:

‘DWTS’ Pro Sasha Farber Reacts to Simone Biles' Exit From Tokyo Olympics (Exclusive)

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