2020 Tokyo Olympics: Simone Biles Speaks Out on Gymnastics Team’s Poor Qualifying Performance

by Leanne Stahulak

Yesterday, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team put in a surprisingly so-so performance at the qualifying round of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Even America’s star performer and one of the world’s top gymnasts, Simone Biles, didn’t perform her best at the event.

It’s the first time since 2010 that the women’s team didn’t come in first after qualifying, People magazine reports. They came in second place to Russia, just one point behind at 170.562. In addition to Biles, Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum, Jordan Chiles, MyKayla Skinner, and Jade Carey competed.

Biles slipped up on her floor exercise and vault, stepping out of bounds for each event. But because her Olympics routine was so difficult, she still scored fairly high for both. She did well enough in all five events to secure a spot in the finals on Thursday. There, she’ll compete for individual medals in all-around, balance beam, uneven bars, floor exercise, and vault.

Lee and Carey will join Biles in the individual finals. Lee qualified for the all-around, uneven bars, and balance beam. Carey, who will only compete as an individual and not in the team finals on Tuesday, qualified for the floor exercise and vault.

While McCallum and Chile will both participate in the team finals with Biles and Lee, neither qualified for the individuals. McCallum also stepped out of bounds on her floor exercise, putting her behind Biles and Carey. But Chiles dragged her feet while transitioning from high to low bars, fell from the beam, and stumbled on her beam dismount.

Overall, though, Biles is relatively happy with the team’s performance.

“I feel we did a pretty good job. Obviously, there are little things we need to work on, so we’ll go back and practice and work on that, just so we can do our best performance at team finals because that’s what matters,” Biles said after completing the qualifying round. “We’re really striving for top three [finish].”

U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team Coordinator Speaks on Their Qualifying Tokyo Olympics Performance

In team coordinator Tom Forster’s eyes, the mistakes made by the women’s gymnastics team were all in their heads.

“We had great performances today and some not-so-great ones, but the errors we made are mental. These girls have been training incredibly well, so it’s things we have some time to work on before finals, and we’ll do it,” Forster told reporters after the qualifying round.

Forster was as shocked as the rest of the world when Simone Biles made simple, sloppy errors on her qualifying performance.

“That was a surprise. She’s been incredibly consistent and I’m sure she feels bad, but I’m super proud of the way she trained,” Forster said. “She’s been a great leader for us. Sometimes, just like in other sports, great athletes drop the ball in the end zone or a quarterback throws an interception. It happens. Those steps are mental errors.”

Despite not coming in first at the Tokyo Olympics qualifying round, Forster believes it will give them the push they need to do better.

“This might be a great awakening for us, and we’ll take advantage of it,” he said.