July 27, 2021 — American gymnastics superstar Simone Biles withdrew from the Olympics finals in the team competition on Tuesday and said she was dealing 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.”
Biles’ decision came after she struggled on her first vault.
“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” Biles told the Today show. “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“Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue.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.