Simone Biles withdraws from floor event final at the Tokyo Games

01 August 2021 - 17:10 By Reuters
Simone Biles of Team United States looks on while cheering on teammate Sunisa Lee in the women's all-around final at the Tokyo Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre.
Simone Biles of Team United States looks on while cheering on teammate Sunisa Lee in the women's all-around final at the Tokyo Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre.
Image: Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images

Simone Biles will not compete in Monday’s floor exercise final, leaving her with just one more event to win another medal at the Tokyo Games.

USA Gymnastics said on Sunday that Biles had withdrawn from the event final for floor and would make a decision later this week on the beam, the one remaining event she is qualified for at this Games.

“Either way, we’re all behind you, Simone,” USA Gymnastics added in a tweet. It was not immediately clear who would take her place.

Biles shocked the world when she withdrew from the team finals on Tuesday after a single vault, citing mental health issues. She has received an outpouring of support from athletes, officials and fans, including former first lady Michelle Obama and International Olympic Commission (IOC) president Thomas Bach.

She has since withdrawn from all the other competitions she was eligible for, except the beam, which is scheduled to take place on Aug. 3.

The 24-year-old Biles came to Tokyo with high expectations as she gunned for six gold medals, which would have made her the most decorated Olympic woman.

She earned a silver from the sidelines in the team competition and later cheered US teammate Sunisa Lee to gold in the all-around. Her decision to drop out of three more finals means she won’t defend any of the other golds she won in Rio, on vault and for floor exercise.

She won a bronze in beam at Rio, the one event she is still entered for in Tokyo.

Biles has spoken with remarkable candour about her decision to prioritise her mental and physical wellbeing as she deals with the “twisties”, where gymnasts are disoriented during their gravity-defying sequences.

“It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync,” Biles explained in an Instagram story, in which she answered fans' questions and shared practice videos.

Biles said that while she usually only suffered from the “twisties” on floor and vault, they were now hitting her on everything.

“It’s never transferred to bars & beam before for me, it strictly likes floor and vault. Go figure, the scariest two.

“But this time it’s on literally every event. Which sucks ... really bad.”

She also said it had usually taken around two weeks to clear up when she suffered from them before but she would wait and see.

“Something you have to take literally day by day, turn by turn,” she wrote.

On Sunday, she posted an Instagram story around the time the announcement of her withdrawal was being made.

“Always take a moment to celebrate the beautiful woman you’ve become, the obstacles you’ve overcome, the silent battles you’ve fought and the hard decisions you’ve had to make,” she wrote, in black words on a muted background.

“Celebrate your strength and resilience.”


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