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Biles says mental health problems began before Olympics

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Simone Biles said on Monday the mental health concerns that led to her dramatic withdrawal from several events at the Tokyo Olympics had begun before she even arrived in Japan.

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The US gymnastics superstar caused a sensation at the Olympics last month after pulling out of the team final competition before later withdrawing from the individual all-around competition.

Biles, 24, regarded by many as the greatest gymnast of all time and who had been strongly tipped to win multiple gold medals in Japan, said she had withdrawn in order to prioritize her mental health.

In a video conversation with her mother released by sponsors Athleta on Monday, Biles said her problems had built up over time.

"I wouldn't even say it started in Tokyo. I feel like it was probably a little bit deeper-rooted than that," Biles said.

"I think it was just the stress factor. It kind of built up over time, and my body and my mind just said no. But even I didn't know I was going through it until it just happened."

Biles was plagued by an attack of the "twisties" in Tokyo -- a potentially dangerous phenomenon that causes gymnasts to lose their sense of direction when in the air. She later returned to the Olympic arena to compete in the balance beam final, where she won a bronze.