Simone Biles will not defend her Olympic title.
The American gymnastics superstar withdrew from Thursday’s all-around competition “to focus on her mental health,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Wednesday.
“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition,” the organization said on Twitter. “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After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition.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
The decision comes a day after the 24-year-old removed herself from the team final following one rotation, saying she didn’t believe she was mentally ready.
As a result, Russia won the women’s team gymnastics event on Tuesday. The United States finished second for the silver medal, while Britain won the bronze medal.
Afterward, Biles said that she felt “good” physically but it “varies” emotionally.
“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape. Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment,” she told Hoda Kotb on NBC’s “Today.”
“Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star of the Olympics is not an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see,” Biles said.
Jade Carey, who finished ninth in qualifying, will take Biles’ place in the all-around. Carey initially did not qualify because she was the third-ranking American behind Biles and Sunisa Lee. International Gymnastics Federation rules limit countries to two athletes per event in the finals.
The organization 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, something she didn’t even do during her five-medal haul in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
She came to Tokyo as arguably the face of the Games following the retirement of swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt. She topped qualifying on Sunday despite piling up mandatory deductions on vault, floor and beam following shaky dismounts.
Biles posted on social media on Monday that she felt 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.
“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,'” Biles said following the medal ceremony.
Despite being one of the most beloved American athletes, Biles this year lashed out at those she called “haters” and started wearing a goat on her leotard, a symbol for her standing as the “Greatest of All Time.”
“I just hope that kids growing up watching this don’t or aren’t ashamed of being good at whatever they do,” she said in an interview with Marie Clare. “And that’s my problem: when people kind of harp on other people that are good at something. And it’s like, everybody can say you’re good, but once you acknowledge it, it’s not cool anymore. And I want kids to learn that, yes, it’s OK to acknowledge that you’re good or even great at something.”
Her withdrawal opens the door wide open for the all-around, a title that was long considered a foregone conclusion.
Rebeca Andrade of Brazil finished second to Biles during qualifying, followed by Lee and Russians Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova. The four were separated by three-tenths of a point on Sunday.
Carey now finds herself in the final, capping a remarkable journey for the 21-year-old from Phoenix.
She spent two years traveling the globe in an effort to pile up enough points on the World Cup circuit to earn an individual nominative spot, meaning she would be in the Olympics but technically not be part of the four-woman U.S. team.
Carey posted the second-best score on vault and the third-best on floor during qualifying, earning trips to the event finals in the process.
Now she finds herself competing for an all-around medal while the “GOAT” looks on.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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