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Simone Biles withdraws from final individual all-around gymnastics to focus on mental health

The American withdrew from the women’s gymnastics team final on Tuesday due to mental health concerns with Team USA claiming silver behind the ROC

Jack Rathborn
Wednesday 28 July 2021 13:16 BST
Simone Biles says mental health issues behind Olympics withdrawal

Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics to focus on her mental health.

The 24-year-old, widely considered the greatest gymnast of all time, pulled out of the women’s gymnastics team final on Tuesday, citing mental health concerns, with Team USA going on to win silver behind the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

Biles will continue to consider her participation on a day-by-day basis with the prospect of her competing in Tokyo at one of the other four finals she has qualified for.

A statement from USA Gymnastics read: “After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health.

“Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals.

“Jade Carey, who had the ninth highest score in qualifications, will participate in her place in the all-around.

“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her wellbeing. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

Biles misjudged her landing on the vault in the women’s gymnastics team final on Tuesday – an event she has so often dominated – which raised concern about her wellbeing.

She was given a score of 13.766, the worst in the opening rotation, before swiftly exiting the arena with a trainer.

“I don’t trust myself as much as I used to,” said an emotional Biles later on. “I don’t know if it’s age and I’m a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics. We had a workout this morning. It went OK and then just that five and a half hours wait, I was shaking, could barely nap.

“I just never felt like this going into a competition before. I tried to go out and have fun and warm up a bit better but when I came out here I was like, mentally, it is not there so I need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.

Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around gymnastics (AFP)

“I did not choose to do a one-and-half! I was trying to do a two-and-a-half and it just was not clicking.

“They saw a bit of it in practice. It’s very uncharacteristic of me so it just sucks that it happened here at the Olympic Games because it could happen any other time. But with the year that it’s been, I’m really not surprised how it played out.

“After the performance that I did, I didn’t want to go into any of the other events second guessing myself so I thought it was better if I let these girls go out there and do the job and they did just that so I think tonight they get a gold medal from me in fighting because they never gave up and they showed the world what they’re capable of.”

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