The deputy Texas attorney general, Aaron Reitz, has issued an apology after calling Olympic gymnast Simone Biles a “selfish, childish national embarrassment” on Twitter earlier this week.
The apology, also issued on Twitter, said he made the comment in a moment of “frustration and disappointment” without being “adequately versed”.
“Simone Biles is a true patriot and one of the greatest gymnasts of our time. I apologize to her, and wish her well,” his statement goes on to say.
Biles is the most decorated gymnast of all time. However, on Tuesday, she pulled out of a women’s team competition for mental health reasons. She did not compete at the women’s all-around final on Thursday either.
In explaining her decision, Biles discussed the enormous pressure she was under and also expressed fears that she would hurt herself if she did not take the time to get in the right headspace.
“We also have to focus on ourselves because at the end of the day, we’re human too. We have to protect our mind and our body rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do,” Biles said.
On Thursday, Sunisa Lee of the United States stepped up in Biles’s absence to win the Olympic women’s gymnastics all-around gold medal.