Simone Biles says she reached out to fellow Olympic gold medallist Mikaela Shiffrin during Beijing 2022 as she “didn’t want her to feel alone”.
Biles and Shiffrin connected during the Games last year where Shiffrin shared some of the negative comments she had received on social media after missing out on a medal.
“Half of the time, the comments are people at home that have never even done a sport or gotten an award so they don’t realise how hard we work, and like Mikaela said, they only tune in every four years, so they don’t see all the hard work that goes beyond that.
“You don’t understand how hurtful it is already to feel like I’ve failed myself, then you have the weight of the world, everybody, telling you failed and all of this stuff. So, I just didn’t want her to feel alone.
“For me, I had a similar experience before with the comments and stuff like that, but my decision was to pull out of the Olympics, so I know how hurtful it is and how much it just kind of sucks.
“You work your whole entire life and the Olympics only happens every four years and if you get to go to more than one, then you have double the luck.
“I’ve been in those positions, and yeah, a lot of our time, we’ve had great times in our sport, but those low times, we need those supporters, those fans, to back us, and be like, ‘You can do it. You’ve got it,’ instead of the opposite because we just start feeling useless.
“And it was in the middle of Covid. We didn’t have anybody there. It was so lonely.”
“When you’re at the Olympics, especially during Covid, you’re in the village, you can’t go anywhere,” said Shiffrin.
“And in winter, you don’t really want to go anywhere, so there’s so much of it that actually makes you feel a little trapped but you also feel very disconnected from home and from the people who are cheering for you.
“You just feel disconnected from everything. The only connection you get is on Twitter, on Instagram, just basically seeing what comments come up.
“Sometimes what you see is negative comments, you don’t see any of the support.
“It’s always like, ‘You choked. Don’t even come back to the US. It’s unbelievable you could fail so badly.'”
Biles is a seven-time Olympic medallist while Shiffrin has won three Olympic medals.
Prior to the World Championships, Shiffrin broke Lindsey Vonn’s record of the most World Cup wins for a female skier, and she is now just one victory away from equalling Ingemar Stenmark’s benchmark for both men and women.
For 34 years, Stenmark’s 86 wins has been targeted by the likes of Vonn and Marcel Hirscher, but neither of them were able to surpass it.
Three speed races take place this week, with two super-G events on Friday and Sunday, plus a downhill in the middle.
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