Simone Biles shocked the world when she decided to pull out of the team event finals at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. Shortly after, it was announced that Biles also withdrew from the individual all-around competition to focus on her mental health.
During the team finals, the 24-year-old gymnast left the competition floor after performing an uncharacteristically faulty vault and was seen by Team USA’s medical trainer, according to People. USA Gymnastics released a statement saying that Biles had withdrawn “due to a medical issue” and Biles’ coach told NBC, “Physically she is fine. But she is done for the night.”
Biles then stayed to cheer on her teammates Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles, and Grace McCallum for the rest of the competition. Ultimately, the U.S. women’s team took home silver, while the Russian Olympic Committee took gold.
After team finals, Biles spoke with reporters, saying she was “dealing with things internally that will get fixed in the next few days,” according to BBC Sport. Callie Caplan, an Olympics reporter for Dallas Morning News, tweeted that Biles also said she decided to “take a backseat” on Tuesday to “work on my mindfulness.”
Then on Wednesday, USA Gymnastics released a statement that Biles would also withdraw from the individual all-around competition to focus on her mental health. The statement said: “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”
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However, Biles could still perform—and win big—at this year’s games, as she qualified to compete in four other events: the uneven bars, vault, beam, and floor exercise, all of which will take place next week. Biles is the reigning gold medalist on the vault and floor and could make history at the Tokyo Games by performing her incredible Yurchenko double pike vault. If she lands it, it would become the fifth skill named after her, the Washington Post reported.
According to the statement from USA Gymnastics, Biles will “continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals.” But even with the uncertainty, one thing is clear: By prioritizing her mental health and safety, and in turn encouraging other athletes to do the same, Simone Biles remains the greatest gymnast of all time.
This post has been updated.
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