It’s been a tough 48 hours for Gymnastics GOAT and defending Olympic champion Simone Biles. Following an injury, she has withdrawn from Thursday’s individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
The career-changing decision comes just one day after Biles removed herself from the team final following one rotation on vault. According to the 24-year-old, she needs to focus on her mental health.
“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health,” Team USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement added: “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.”
Biles had been the top contender to bring home gold as an individual all-around champion. However, after Tuesday, her chances of repeating that dream began to dwindle.
Jade Carey, who finished ninth in qualifying, will now replace Biles in the all-around. At first, Carey did not qualify because she was the third-ranking American, following Biles and Sunisa Lee. As for Biles, she’s not going home just yet. Team USA Gymnastics said Biles would be evaluated before deciding if she will participate in next week’s events.
Biles qualified for the finals on all four portions, something she couldn’t accomplish during her five-medal stint in Rio in 2016. On Sunday, women gymnasts will compete in vault and floor exercises. Biles won gold in both events in 2016.
Growing Pressures of Olympic Gold Become Too Much for Simone Biles
For the Ohio native, she has a lot riding on this moment. After Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt retired, she’s now arguably the face of the Olympics. She got off to a shaky start when she barely topped qualifying on Sunday. She received mandatory deductions on vault, floor, and beam after less-than-perfect dismounts.
On Monday, she confessed that she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. That growing weight became too heavy for the young athlete during vaulting at team finals. While in midair, she completed 1½ twists instead of 2½. Afterward, she met with Team USA doctor Marcia Faustin before walking off the mat.
When Biles returned, she took off her bar grips, embraced her teammates, and turned into the team’s head cheerleader as the USA 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 admitted after the medal ceremony.
Now, with Biles withdrawing, it’s anyone’s game. Her exit now makes the floor open for the all-around, a title that was once considered out of reach.