Simone Biles, one of the successful American gymnasts of all time, has officially withdrawn from two more individual Olympic competitions.
Simone Biles will forego the vault competition and uneven bars competition, she recently announced. She did leave the door open for competing in two other exercises in the floor and beam competitions. Biles’ teammate, MyKayla Skinner, is the beneficiary of Biles’ dropout as she will now get the nod for Team USA in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Skinner is excellent on the vault, receiving the fourth-highest score in the qualification round. The 24-year-old gymnast from Arizona will compete alongside teammate Jade Carey for the USA team.
Citing mental health concerns, Simone Biles has been largely absent from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Earlier in the week, she withdrew from the team competition and declined to participate in the individual all-around. She was able to participate in one rotation in the all-around before shutting it down. Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from these competitions has brought on both praise and skepticism. In opting out of these events, the superstar cited a “medical issue” as the reason for her actions. She later clarified that it is her mental health that forced her out of competition.
“I was just, like, shaking, could barely nap,” she says in an earlier press conference. “I just never felt like this going into a competition before.”
Simone Biles Says She Has Case of the ‘Twisties’
Biles would later state that she has confidence in her teammates to perform up to a high standard. She says in the statement that she needed to give herself attention in order to alleviate the mental health concerns. She describes the ordeal as a case of the “twisties” or a kind of “mental block” she is suffering from.
“I tried to go out there and have fun,” she says. “Warmup in the back went a little bit better. But then once I came out here, I was like, no, mental is not there, so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.”
The decision to forego competition was the result of consultation with the USA Gymnastics medical staff. The organization put out a statement, saying they respect Simone Biles’ decision to drop out of the events.
“We remain in awe of Simone Biles, who continues to handle this situation with courage and grace,” the statement reads.
With Simone Biles on the sidelines, the golden opportunity shines on MyKayla Skinner. A more than capable gymnast, Skinner will look to make a name for herself in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She took second place in the vault competition at the 2021 U.S. National Championships. She placed behind Simone Biles, who is largely considered the greatest American gymnast of all time.
Skinner will have big shoes to fill in replacing Simone Biles but she appears to be up for the challenge.