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Isolation and the absence of family and friends have taken a toll on athletes’ mental health at the Tokyo Olympics, with some struggling to cope with the challenges posed by the pandemic while carrying their country’s hopes on the global sports stage.

After her stunning exit from the women’s gymnastics team event on Tuesday, Simone Biles said she felt she had been carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. That burden seems to have been exacerbated by a year a grief, loss and restrictions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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