Simone Biles’ decision to prioritise her mental health over Olympic medals can be a source of support for others who are struggling, says Kris Boyd.
Biles was expected to be one of the stars of the Tokyo Olympics for her sporting achievements, but instead served as an inspiration for many when she chose to withdraw from several events to “protect” her mental health.
In doing so, the 24-year-old forfeited the opportunity to win the four medals she needed to become the most decorated gymnast in history and Boyd, whose charity aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and provide support to those in need, is grateful for her actions.
When asked about Biles by Sky Sports News, Boyd said: “When you look at top-performing athletes, top-performing businesspeople, everybody thinks they’re immune to problems within their life because they’ve been successful.
“It’s not the case. You never, ever know when you’re going to have problems.
“A lot of high-performance sportspeople and businesspeople probably masked it and tried to hide it, whereas now they’re openly speaking about it. That can only help everybody.
“With top-performing athletes and businesspeople coming out and speaking, it does help.”
Boyd was one of the most prolific Scottish strikers of his generation, scoring over 200 goals during a career at clubs including Rangers, Kilmarnock and Nottingham Forest.
The 37-year-old also scored seven goals in 18 games for his country but, since ending his career in 2019, Boyd has spent much of his time working with his charity, which was founded 18 months before he hung up his boots.
The Kris Boyd Charity was largely inspired by the death of Boyd’s younger brother, Scott, who took his own life in 2016, as well as his wife’s battles with anxiety.
But thanks to the work of charities such as his own, and the actions of global stars such as Biles, Boyd believes it is becoming easier for those impacted by mental health issues to seek help.
“Yes, I think it is [easier], with the more we speak about it and the more organisations out there,” he said. “Everybody’s trying their best and that is the key thing.
“We need to keep going. It’s not easy but we just need to keep raising awareness and giving people that platform.”
Boyd also encouraged others to reach out to anyone requiring support, saying: “You don’t realise that you might be helping someone.
“All it takes is to go and read a couple of books and understand what people are going through, then maybe they’ll open up to you and you’ve got the right tools to deal with people who might be struggling.”