This story was updated July 28, 2021
July 27, 2021 — American gymnastics superstar Simone Biles withdrew from the individual competition at Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, a day after pulling herself from the finals in the team competition as she deals with mental health issues.
After the U.S. women won the silver medal, finishing second to the Russian Olympic Committee team, Biles said she was withdrawing to “focus on my well being.”
“There’s more to life than just gymnastics,” Biles said. “It is very unfortunate that it’s happening at this stage.”
Now, Biles, a four-time gold medalist, has withdrawn from the individual events as well.
“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being,” a statement from USA Gymnastics said, according to The New York Times. “Her courage shows, yet again, while she is a role model for so many.”
There is still a chance Biles could compete in the event finals next week.
Her decision to exit the team competition came after she struggled on her first vault.
“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” Biles told the Today show on Tuesday. “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”
USA Gymnastics at first said a medical issue was the cause for Biles’ withdrawal.
“Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions,” USA Gymnastics said on Twitter.
Biles, acknowledged as the greatest gymnast in history, hoped to lead the U.S. to a third straight gold medal in team competition but withdrew from the event after a surprising landing off the vault, ESPN reported.
She was supposed to perform 2½ twists in the air but appeared to change her mind in midair, doing 1½ twists instead, according to ESPN.
Afterward, she spoke to a trainer before leaving the competition floor with the team doctor. She returned a few minutes later, hugged her teammates, put on her warmup clothes, and cheered the team for the rest of the competition.
It’s unclear if Biles, 24, will be available Thursday for the all-around final and for other events, ESPN reported. She won five medals in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Summer Games and had a chance to win five more in Tokyo.
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