Simone Biles will not defend her all-around gymnastics Olympic title. The American superstar withdrew from the all-around gymnastics final to focus on her mental well-being. The news follows her decision to pull out while competing in the team event yesterday after one rotation on the vault.
USA Gymnastics released a statement saying that the 24-year-old is opting to not compete. They have however left open the possibility that she will return for the individual events at the Games next week.
“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition. We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her wellbeing. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”
USA Gymnastics said Biles will be evaluated daily before deciding if she will participate in next week’s individual events. Biles qualified for the finals on all four apparatuses.
The 24-year-old came to Tokyo as arguably the face of the Games following the retirement of swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt. Biles is the most decorated gymnast in history and has performed moves so unique and difficult that they have been named after her.
She entered the Tokyo Games with expectation from everyone that she would repeat her quadruple gold medal haul in Rio, making her one of the most decorated gymnasts in Olympic history.
On Monday, Biles posted on social media that she has been the weight of the world on her shoulders. The weight became too heavy after vaulting during team finals. She lost herself in mid-air and completed 1 1/2 twists instead of 2 1/2. She consulted with U.S. team doctor Marcia Faustin before walking off the field of play.
When she returned, she took off her bar grips, hugged teammates Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum and Jordan Chiles and turned into the team’s head cheerleader as the U.S. claimed silver behind the Russian Olympic Committee. After the final Biles broke down in tears as she explained her decision.
“Whenever you get in a high stress situation, you kind of freak out. I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being. It just sucks when you’re fighting with your own head,
“Once I came out here (to compete), I was like, ‘No mental is, not there so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.’”