Why Simone Biles Pulled Out of Tokyo Olympics Gymnastics Team Finals


Simone Biles pulled out of the gymnastics team finals at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, due to what USA Gymnastics has called a “medical issue.” Team USA went on to win silver in the event, while Russia’s team took the gold.

During the competition, the 24-year-old gymnast walked off the floor after an uncharacteristically faulty vault and was seen by Team USA medical trainers, according to NBC. USA Gymnastics then released a statement, saying, “Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue.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.” NBC has also reported that Biles might be dealing with a mental health issue, with Biles’ coach telling the outlet, “Physically she is fine. But she is done for the night.”

Her teammates Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles, and Grace McCallum finished the team event finals, earning a silver medal while the Russian Olympic Committee took gold. Biles stayed to cheered on her teammates as they finished their performances.

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On Monday, Biles posted about her mental health on Instagram after the Olympic gymnastics qualifications, writing, “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 hahaha! The olympics is no joke!” In an interview with The New York Times prior to the games, Biles also discussed her painful ankle injuries and said the happiest moment of her career was “probably my time off.”

While it remains unclear if Biles plans to compete in the other events, she has qualified for all of them: individual all-around, beam, vault, floor, and uneven bars. During qualifications, she placed first in the all-around and, coming into these Olympics, she was expected to defend her 2016 gold in the event.

Aly Raisman, an Olympic gold medalist and Biles’ former Olympic teammate, told TODAY that she felt “sick to her stomach” after learning about Biles’ departure. “I am obviously so worried and just hoping that Simone is okay,” she said.

“I also am just thinking about the mental impact that this has to have on Simone,” she added. “It’s just so much pressure, and I’ve been watching how much pressure has been on her in the months leading up to the Games, and it’s just devastating.”

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