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The Margin: ‘We stand by Simone’: Sponsors Athleta, Visa, Uber support Simone Biles’ withdrawal from Tokyo Olympics events

Simone Biles is still a golden girl in the eyes of her sponsors. 

Brand partners including the Gap Inc.-owned
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Athleta, Visa
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and Uber
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expressed their support for the U.S. gymnastics star on Tuesday and Wednesday, after Biles shocked the world by first withdrawing from the gymnastics team final on Tuesday, and then also pulling out of Thursday’s individual all-around final. 

Biles, 24, who already has four Olympic gold medals and 19 world championship gold medals under her belt, is focusing on her mental health, according to a statement from USA Gymnastics. And she will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not she will participate in the individual finals next week.

“It’s been really stressful, this Olympic Games,” she told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s been a long week. It’s been a long Olympics process. It’s been a long year. So just a lot of different variables, and I think we’re just a little bit too stressed out. But we should be out here having fun, and sometimes that’s not the case.” 

Read more: Why did Simone Biles withdraw? Let’s look at why she’s at the Tokyo Olympics in the first place

Athleta, which partnered with Biles in April after her six-year Nike
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contract lapsed, showed its support by tweeting a picture of the gymnast wearing its brand logo, along with a heart emoji.

“We stand by Simone and support her well-being both in and out of competition,” said Kyle Andrew, chief brand officer for Gap’s Athleta line, in a statement. “Being the best also means knowing how to take care of yourself. We are inspired by her leadership today and are behind her every step of the way.”

Coincidentally, Athleta also launched a digital wellness platform for women on Wednesday called AthletaWell, which gives members access to workouts, as well as interest groups that will discuss women’s health issues, like sexual health and menopause, as well as guides for recharging their mind, body and spirit. 

Related: Simone Biles’s Olympics withdrawal shines a light on mental-health issues in the workplace, experts say

Visa, which is sponsoring 102 Olympic athletes at the Tokyo Games, including Biles, tweeted that she is “an inspiration, on and off the mat” with a heart emoji. It added that “The Team Visa family recognizes her incredibly brave decision.” 

Visa sponsorship executive Andrea Fairchild told sports business site Sportico that, “We are sending Simone support from across all of Visa and as part of the Team Visa family. This was a difficult, but incredibly brave decision and shows how Simone is able to inspire both on and off the mat. We wish her well in the days ahead.”

Protein-shake brand Core Power, which has also partnered with the gymnast, tweeted that Biles was “showing us all that her courage and strength extend well beyond the mat. We’re in awe of you today and every day.” It include a goat emoji, symbolizing she’s a GOAT — greatest of all time — in the field of elite gymnastics. 

And Uber Eats, which featured Biles and Netflix
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“Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness in its “Tonight I’ll be eating” commercials, told CNN that it’s also standing by her side. “She has shown true strength both inside and outside of the gym, setting an incredible example for athletes around the world.”

Biles also drew praise from many fellow former and current Olympians, including U.S. swimming phenom Michael Phelps, as well as gymnasts Aly Raisman, Kerri Strug and Dominique Moceanu, and the likes of inaugural poet Amanda Gorman.

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