'I have to focus on my mental health': Biles withdraws from gymnastics team final

Tuesday - 27/07/2021 12:19
The U.S. gymnast withdrew from team final with what was described as a medical issue
Simone Biles of the United States stands with teammates after exiting the team gymnastics final on Tuesday. (Gregory Bull/The Associated Press)
Simone Biles of the United States stands with teammates after exiting the team gymnastics final on Tuesday. (Gregory Bull/The Associated Press)

Simone Biles came to Tokyo as the star of the U.S. Olympic movement and perhaps the Games themselves. She says she convinced herself she was prepared for the pressure. That she was ready for the spotlight.

But as the women's gymnastics team final approached on Tuesday night, something felt off for the American star. So rather than push through the doubts that crept into her head, she decided enough was enough.

"I have to focus on my mental health," she said after the event. "I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now.... We have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do."

Biles withdrew from the competition Tuesday following one rotation — the vault — a stunning decision that opened the door for the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to surge to gold. Her American teammates held on for silver after the 24-year-old realized following a shaky vault she wasn't in the right headspace to compete.

"I didn't want to go into any of the other events second-guessing myself," Biles said. "So, I thought it would be better if I took a step back and let these girls go out there and do their job."

Biles spent the final three rotations serving as head cheerleader while Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles carried on without her. The U.S. drew within eight-tenths of a point through three rotations. ROC, however, never wavered on floor. And they erupted when 21-year-old Angelina Melnikova's score assured them of the top spot on the podium.

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 Keywords: The Olympics, Simone Biles

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