May 23, 2024
The Chinese team celebrates after taking gold in the 4x200-meter freestyle on July 29.

China breaks world record in women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay

Simone Biles’ sponsors offered statements of support Wednesday following her decision to pull out of Thursday’s individual, all-around gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 24-year-old champion cited mental health concerns as the reason for her earlier withdrawal from Tuesday’s team competition during interviews with reporters in Tokyo. Biles may still compete in next week’s individual event finals. 

Athleta chief brand officer Kyle Andrew said the sports apparel company stands by Biles and supports her well being “both in and out of competition.” Biles signed an endorsement contract with Athleta earlier this year after ending her contract with Nike.

“Being the best also means knowing how to take care of yourself,” Andrew told CNN Business via email on Wednesday. “We are inspired by her leadership today and are behind her every step of the way.”

On Tuesday, Biles said she was going to take the rest of the Olympics “one day at a time” as she looks to add to her haul of four gold medals won at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Visa, another athlete sponsor, recognizes Biles’ “incredibly brave decision,” said senior vice president of Global Sponsorship Strategy Andrea Fairchild. The decision “shows how Simone is able to inspire both on and off the mat.”

Biles is one of the 102 Olympic athletes Visa sponsors in conjunction with its Team Visa program. “We wish her well in the days ahead,” Fairchild added.

Protein shake brand Core Power tweeted Wednesday morning that Biles is “showing us all that her courage and strength extend well beyond the mat.”  

“We’re in awe of you today and every day,” the company added on Twitter along with a goat emoji – a reference to GOAT, or greatest of all time.

Core Power told CNN Business it has partnered with Biles for the last six years and that she has been one of its brand ambassadors since 2016. The company launched a new ad campaign featuring Biles on June 29.

“We’ve supported her physical recovery with Core Power protein shakes, and as a company we unequivocally support her full and complete health,” the company said via email.

Team USA sponsor United Airlines didn’t immediately respond Wednesday morning to a request for comment. The company told the sports news site Sportico that it has been proud to partner with Biles for years and continues to support her.

Uber Eats, which featured Biles in its “Tonight I’ll be eating” commercials late last year, said Wednesday that it also stands by her.

“She has shown true strength both inside and outside of the gym, setting an incredible example for athletes around the world,” the company said.