Simone Biles Withdraws From Individual All-Around Gymnastics, Cites Mental Health As Reason
Defending Olympic champion Simone Biles has withdrawn from Thursday’s individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Games to focus on her mental well-being.
USA Gymnastics confirmed Biles’ decision to withdraw and supported her with a statement.
“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health,” USA Gymnastics’ statement read. “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.”
After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition.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 well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many. pic.twitter.com/6ILdtSQF7o
— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 28, 2021
Biles had qualified for all four event finals and was the favorite to win gold in at least three of those events. In the all-around, she was the overwhelming favorite to win it, and if she did, she would’ve become the first woman in 53 years to win back-to-back titles.
USA Gymnastics said Biles will be evaluated before deciding if she will participate in next week’s individual events.
Heading into the Tokyo Olympics, Biles was arguably the biggest star after the retirements of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. The pressure was too much for the Olympian as she struggled in the vaulting event during the team finals. She lost herself in midair and completed 1.5 twists instead of 2.5. She then told her coach and a team doctor that she was not in the right “headspace” to continue. Biles was afraid of injuring herself and did not want to jeopardize the team’s chance at winning a medal.
“I’m still struggling with some things,” Biles said after the event. “It just sucks when you are fighting with your own head.”