GH Benard biles mashup
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI; John Nacion/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

“You can’t see what’s going on in someone’s mind.”

Many were surprised when it was announced that beloved gymnast Simone Biles would not be participating in several of the Summer Olympics events which she was favored to win. Controversial television personality Piers Morgan even went so far as to accuse the athlete of “quitting on her team,” a sentiment for which he was roundly criticized.

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But whereas Morgan saw weakness, General Hospital‘s Maurice Benard recognized a fellow human being focusing on their own self-care. “As I watch Simone Biles at the Olympics,” he wrote on Twitter, “I’m sure some people are gonna say she seems fine. You can’t see what’s going on in someone’s mind. You can still clap, you can still cheer, [but] only she knows what the truth is.”

It is a topic Benard, who has long been open about his own struggles with mental-health issues in general and bipolar disorder in particular, knows well. Whether in his book — Nothing General About It: How Love (and Lithium) Saved Me On and Off General Hospital — or his weekly vlog State of Mind, he has worked hard to erase the stigma so often attached to mental illness.

When a follower suggested that Biles “didn’t start struggling until after she messed up” and asked why, if she wasn’t ready for the competition and the pressures which go along with it, she didn’t step aside sooner, Benard admitted it was a good question. “I’ll give you my answer,” he said, suggesting that “sometimes, because you’re expected to do something, you believe you can until you can’t.”

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After taking a moment to visit the comments section and applaud Benard’s decision to defend the athlete whom many consider one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, swing by the gallery below in which we look at situations in which real-life impacted soap storylines, including a few involving sports!