Simone Biles has pulled out of a second event
Credit: LOIC VENANCE
Simone Biles, the star attraction of Tokyo 2020, has withdrawn from the individual all-round event after her “freak out” during the team gymnastics.
Biles’s involvement in the Games was plunged further into doubt "after further medical evaluation" ruled she was unfit to compete on Thursday, USA Gymnastics said.
A statement confirming she had "withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition", added: "We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many."
The announcement comes 12 hours after an almost unprecedented show of raw emotion from Biles after she suffered a crisis of confidence during the team final.
After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition. 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. pic.twitter.com/6ILdtSQF7o
— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 28, 2021
USA Gymnastics said on Wednesday that Biles "will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals". Jade Carey will replace her, the governing body added.
The announcement came after a night when Biles revealed “I just didn’t want to go on” after misjudging her opening vault, scoring the worst performance of her Olympics career of 13.766. Biles had told her trainer “I don’t want to do it – I am done”.
Simone Biles revealed yesterday she is having therapy to help with her mental health issues
Credit: Gregory Bull
She then spoke frankly and openly of her turmoil to reporters afterwards, saying she had taken therapy and medicine, but had “freaked out in a high stress situation”.
The Tokyo Games, in which Biles had been expected to shatter record books, have been the first since she spoke out in detail about the sexual abuse she faced from former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. She said her personal turmoil means "doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me".
Biles has received messages of support from a host of high profile figures and athletes over night.
Michelle Obama wrote online that "we are proud of you and we are rooting for you.” The American swimming great Michael Phelps, a 28-time Olympic medalist, also praised her honesty, having himself battled anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Am I good enough? Yes, I am. The mantra I practice daily. @Simone_Biles, we are proud of you and we are rooting for you. Congratulations on the the silver medal, Team @USA! 🎊
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) July 28, 2021
“It broke my heart," told American broadcaster NBC. "But also, if you look at it, mental health over the last 18 months, is something that people are talking about."
Although the 24-year-old returned to the area midway through events, she put on her tracksuit and did not compete again as the Americans finished second, with Team GB taking a surprise bronze on Tuesday.
"With the year that it’s been, I’m really not surprised that it played out," she said afterwards, fighting back tears.
"I just don’t trust myself as much as I used to, and I don’t know if it’s age – I’m a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics."
we love you and we are with you 🇺🇸 @Simone_Biles
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) July 27, 2021
Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing women and girls as a doctor for USA Gymnastics and at Michigan State University after being accused of abusing more than 150 people, including Biles.
"I feel like I’m also not having as much fun and I know that this Olympic Games, I wanted it to be for myself," she added. "I came into here and I felt like I was still doing it for other people, so that just hurts my heart."
The American star had hinted at problems prior to yesterday’s final, writing on Instagram post that she felt like she had “the weight of the world on my shoulders at times”.
Having earlier this year become the first female athlete to perform a Yurchenko double pike in a competition, Biles had been since as a shoe-in to strike golds in Japan. Yesterday, however, she lost her way during an attempted Amanar 2.5 twist. Completing only one and half twists, Biles took a large step forward on her landing and left the arena floor soon after, appearing close to tears.