2020 Tokyo Olympics: Aly Raisman Speaks Out About Simone Biles Pulling Out of Team Finals

by Leanne Stahulak

Aly Raisman, three-time Olympic gold medalist and Simone Biles‘ former teammate, sympathizes with Biles’ struggles at the Tokyo Olympics.

Known as one of the best gymnasts in the world, Biles was expected to bring home the gold for Team USA in the women’s gymnastics team finals. But after a disastrous vault performance, the gymnast pulled out of the rest of the team competition on Tuesday.

“Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. “She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”

Raisman, who competed with Biles at the 2016 Rio Olympics, told TODAY in an interview this made her feel “sick to her stomach.”

“It’s horrible,” Raisman said. “I know that all of these athletes dream of this moment for their whole entire lives. So, I’m just completely devastated. I am obviously so worried and just hoping that Simone is OK.”

At this time, it’s unknown whether or not Biles will compete in Thursday’s individual finals for women’s gymnastics. The Olympics icon did take to Instagram a few days ago to talk about the pressures of being a gymnastics world champion.

“I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke!” she wrote.

Raisman sympathized. “I also am just thinking about the mental impact that this has to have on Simone. It’s just so much pressure. I’ve been watching how much pressure has been on her in the months leading up to the Games, and it’s just devastating. I feel horrible.”

Raisman Talks Pressures of Being a Gymnast at the Olympics

In Raisman’s eyes, Biles faces “more pressure than any other gymnast I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.”

“I think that Simone is the biggest story going into the Olympics, so this is just… really, really devastating,” the former Olympian said. “But I think it’s also just really important to think about how much pressure has been on her. And there’s only so much that someone can take. She’s human, and I think sometimes people forget that. And Simone, just like everyone else, is doing the best that she can.”

What Olympic athletes make look easy is in fact extraordinarily difficult. When talking about Biles’ mistake at the Tokyo Olympics, Raisman said any number of factors can put a gymnast off during competition.

“I don’t know if she got lost in the air, or I don’t know if she got injured before and wasn’t able to complete the twist. I’m sure whenever she’s ready, she’ll tell us,” Raisman said. “But if she did get lost in the air, I do want to say that that is actually very common.”

As a fellow gymnast, Raisman shed some light on issues they all struggle with. Even Olympic athletes can make mistakes, she said.

“Sometimes if you’re trying to do three twists on floor, sometimes you might just breathe the wrong way. Or when you’re taking off, the lights from the ceiling get into your eye and you just get confused,” she said. “I think people forget when we’re doing gymnastics, the stuff we’re doing is so difficult. And I know someone like Simone makes it look so easy. But I think people forget sometimes we’re human and sometimes we get confused.”