NBC announced the shocking program change during the finals’ broadcast from Tokyo. The New York Times confirmed that the 24-year-old gymnast is no longer part of the team competition.
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(UPDATE: Biles’ decision reportedly came out of concern for her mental health. “I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now,” the BBC quotes Biles as saying after exiting the team finals. Click here for more.)
Biles completed her first part of the event, on the vault, but did not go through with a planned, complicated move called the Amanar. She had a wobbly landing and scored a 13.766 for a 1.5 twist. Afterward, she left the competition floor with one of the team’s trainers and later returned, donning the white Team USA track suit and hugging and cheering for her teammates from the sides.
She was scheduled to compete on uneven bars, as well, but her teammate Jordan Chiles was subbed in on that apparatus.
NBC commentators said that a “medical issue,” though not necessarily a physical injury, was behind Biles’ departure from the team finals. USA Gymnastics later confirmed that, releasing an official statement that read: “Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”
Russia eventually won gold with a score of 169.528. The American team took silver with a score of 166.096. Britain won bronze with a score of 164.096.
The U.S. women have won gold in the team event at the past two Summer Olympics.
Biles, who is considered one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, earned four gold medals and a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio.
On Monday, she posted on Instagram: “I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard.”
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