Simone Biles Withdraws From Individual All-Around Final
Simone Biles backed out of the women’s individual all-around gymnastics final at the Toyko Olympics on Wednesday, again citing her mental health.
Biles, America’s most decorated gymnast, also bowed out of the team final on Tuesday due to mental health after struggling early on the vault.
Biles qualified in first place for the individual all-around event and had been a favorite to take home multiple gold medals at the Olympics.
But on Wednesday, USA Gymnastics announced that Biles had also withdrawn from the individual all-around competition “in order to focus on her mental health.”
“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. “Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”
The news of Biles’ withdrawal follows the dramatic turn of events during the team finals on Tuesday, which saw the 24-year-old pull out mid-competition after her first rotation.
Biles had been set to complete all four rotations for Team USA during the finals, but appeared to be shaken as she took to the vault, which is usually one of her best events. Seeming to bail at the last second, she performed 1.5 twists instead of 2.5, and landed with a big correction. The vault scored her 13.766, a huge drop from her average score of 16.050 for the same event during the previous Olympics, and the lowest score in the rotation.
Biles then left the competition floor, returning to the sidelines for the rest of the competition to support her teammates, who went on to win the silver medal.
She later told reporters that she didn’t feel right in the buildup, and had backed out because she “didn’t want to risk the team a medal for my screwups because they’ve worked way too hard for that.”
“I was just, like, shaking, could barely nap,” Biles added. “I just never felt like this going into a competition before.”
The day before the team final, Biles had told her followers on Instagram that she felt the “weight of the world” on her shoulders.
Biles “will continue to be evaluated daily,” USA Gymnastics said, to see whether she can compete in individual events next week.