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Kevin Love sends love, support to Simone Biles after gymnast withdraws from Tokyo Olympics to focus on her mental health

Biles withdrew from the team and all-around competitions after saying that she was not in the right mental space to continue.

TOKYO, Japan — Cleveland Cavaliers player Kevin Love stepped up on social media Wednesday to show his support for fellow athlete Simone Biles, who withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics team and all-around gymnastics competitions to focus on her mental health. 

"Question: Why the **** can’t we be accepting or even open to the idea of someone breaking down to have a breakthrough," Love posted in a long caption on Instagram, sharing a photo of notes discussing Biles and mental health. 

RELATED: 'OK not to be OK': Mental health takes top role at Olympics

"To Simone and others who have openly shared their story...You are helping many. Continue to lean into discomfort and vulnerability. Don’t deny your story — defy the ending."

The basketballer has been a longtime mental health advocate, a journey which started in 2018 when he penned an essay in The Players' Tribune, discussing an instance in which he had a panic attack on the court in the middle of a game. 

"I’d never heard of any pro athlete talking about mental health, and I didn’t want to be the only one. I didn’t want to look weak. Honestly, I just didn’t think I needed it. It’s like the playbook said — figure it out on your own, like everyone else around me always had," wrote Love in the 2018 article. " But creating a better environment for talking about mental health … that’s where we need to get to." 

Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and 19 time world's gold medalist pulled herself out of the Tokyo Olympics team gymnastics competition Tuesday morning after a shaky vault, later telling reporters that she wasn't in the right headspace to continue on. On Wednesday, the gymnast announced her withdrawal from the Olympic individual all-around competition. 

RELATED: Social media rallies around Simone Biles after team finals exit

"I say put mental health first because if you don't then you're not going to enjoy your sport and you're not going to succeed as much as you want to,” said Biles Tuesday. “So it's OK sometimes to sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself. It shows how strong a person and competitor you really are, rather than just battle through it."  

Biles has received support from fans and mental health advocates all over the world, including celebrities, athletes, and politicians. 

"Am I good enough? Yes, I am. The mantra I practice daily. @Simone_Biles, we are proud of you and we are rooting for you. Congratulations on the silver medal, Team @USA," said former first lady Michelle Obama wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. 

More unexpected support came from international pop star Justin Bieber, who shared a picture of Biles to his Instagram Wednesday afternoon with a caption dedicated to the Olympian. 

"I know we don’t know each other but I’m so proud of the decision to withdraw. It’s as simple as - what does it mean to gain the whole world but forfeit your soul.
Sometimes our no’s are more powerful than our yes’s. When what you normally love starts to steal your joy it’s important we take a step back to evaluate why," Bieber wrote.  

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