Horrifying Gymnastic Injury Video Shows Why Simone Biles Was Right To Withdraw

Former American gymnast Dominique Moceanu has shared a video chronicling the horrific injury she suffered at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

The 39-year-old, who was part of the gold-medal-winning 1996 Olympics team, posted the video on Twitter in a show of support for Simone Biles after she withdrew from multiple events at the Tokyo Games in order to focus on her mental health.

Moceanu was just 14 when she fell and hit her head on the balance beam at Atlanta. The child prodigy had been widely tipped for medal success at those Olympics but came into the Games carrying a stress fracture in her tibia.

Despite missing the Olympic Trials through injury, she ended up being selected off the back of her scores at the USA Gymnastics National Championships.

Moceanu had been the youngest gymnast ever to win the Championships and represented the U.S. at the 1995 World Championships.

That success threw her into the media spotlight and made Moceanu one of the most famous gymnasts in the world, with the youngster going on to co-write an autobiography and feature in Vanity Fair prior to the Atlanta Games.

Despite contributing to the U.S. team's gold medal success, a heavily bandaged Moceanu struggled through much of the Games and suffered several falls.

While many of her issues may have been physical, she also came into the games under an intense level of pressure and scrutiny similar to the kind placed on Biles.

Commenting alongside the video, Moceanu detailed the lack of care and consideration afforded to her at those Olympics and how Biles' decision to pull out signaled a positive change in the sport.

"I was 14 y/o w/ a tibial stress fracture, left alone w/ no cervical spine exam after this fall," she wrote.

"I competed in the Olympic floor final minutes later."

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

— Dominique Moceanu (@Dmoceanu) July 28, 2021

She backed Biles' decision to withdraw from multiple events, writing that it "demonstrates that we have a say in our own health – a 'say' I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian."

After posting the video, Moceanu said in a statement to Newsweek: "Competing at such an elite, world class level can take a toll on the mind and body. It's sometimes easy for people to forget that even a GOAT athlete like Simone Biles is still a human being.

"I'm actually very proud of Simone and think she should be commended for taking care of herself — and admitting that something didn't feel right be it mentally or physically. She has bravely explained her situation to the media and why she felt the need to step back, withdraw herself and avoid injury or somehow costing herself or the team.

What she did was actually very brave and is a positive sign for the future of the sport. That she remained and supported her team in other ways was beautiful to see and a sign of her strength of character — plus she was first to run over and congratulate the Russian team which was great sportsmanship.

"She's finding new ways to be heroic and I'm quite certain we'll be seeing a lot more of Simone as a competitor once she takes care of what she needs to take care of."

Moceanu's experience came during the same Olympics in which teammate Kerri Shrug famously clinched the gold medal for the U.S. after performing the vault on a badly injured ankle.

Shrug's efforts have been cited by many of Biles's critics on social media following her multiple withdrawals.

In 1996 Kerri Strug went back out on the mats for the finals & had a spectacular performance despite a severely injured ankle.

She did it because it was the only way Team USA had a chance at Gold.

Due to her effort, Team USA won Gold. Amazing grit.

The great ones find a way. pic.twitter.com/Rg6Mv3z6Gg

— Chris Buskirk (@thechrisbuskirk) July 27, 2021

However, what is often overlooked is the pressure she was placed under by her coach, Béla Károlyi, who could be heard on television telling her: "Shake it off! You can do it!"

He was later filmed carrying her to the podium to collect her medal. It subsequently emerged that Shrug had suffered a third-degree lateral sprain and tendon damage.

American gymnasts Dominique Moceanu and Simone Biles.
US Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu at the 1996 Atlanta Games/ Simone Biles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Moceanu has shared a video to demonstrate why Biles was right to withdraw Eric Fererberg/Laurence Griffiths/Getty