Simone Biles, the most decorated, talented and respected gymnast in U.S. history, will likely not compete again in the 2021 Olympics.
On Wednesday, a day after withdrawing from the women’s gymnastic’s team final, Biles announced she would not take part in this week’s individual all-around competition, either.
She did so due to self-admitted mental health issues.
“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health,” a statement read last night.
“Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals.”
Continued the message:
“Jade Carey, who had the ninth-highest score in qualifications, will participate in her place in the all-around.”
Concluded the message:
“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.”
The athletic superstar dropped out of the team final this week after appearing to falter during the vault competition.
After passing up one move and opting for an easier twist that earned her a low score at the time, Biles left the floor with the team’s medical trainer, Marcia Faustin.
Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum guided the United States to silver on Monday… while Biles cheered from the sideline in a white sweatsuit, seemingly at peace with her stunning decision.
“We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day we’re human, too,” Biles said at a subsequent press conference.
“So, we have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.”
Biles is 24 years old.
She had qualified for all four individual event finals and was expected to win gold in at least three of those events.
For Thursday’s all-around, she was hoping to repeat her title from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games in order to become the first woman to win back-to-back titles in the all-around in 53 years.
She hasn’t lost an all-around competition since 2013 — when she was 16.
“I’m still struggling with some things,” Biles said after the team event on Monday. “It just sucks when you are fighting with your own head.”
A survivor of the Larrry Nassar abuse scandal (Biles, along with countless other victims, were molested by the former U.S. team doctor), Simone has been an outspoken critic of U.S.A. Gymnastics, as an organization, for years.
She has said on more than one occasion that she only continued to compete to help shine a light on Nassar’s heinous deeds.
Biles is the only one of Nassar’s victims who remains on the squad.
In a recent New York Times profile, Biles was asked to name the happiest moment of her career.
“Honestly, probably my time off,” she replied, adding of the Tokyo Games:
“I’m going to go out there and represent the U.S.A., represent World Champions Centre, and represent Black and brown girls over the world.
“At the end of the day, I’m not representing U.S.A. Gymnastics.”
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