Tokyo, Japan – Olympic gymnast and Spring, Texas native Simone Biles withdrew from the women’s team gymnastics final at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics on Tuesday citing mental and emotional stress.
Biles left the competition floor during the event following an uncharacteristically shaky performance and returned wearing a sweatsuit. She remained on the sidelines to cheer on her teammates, who took her place in the remaining rotations of the competition. Team USA went on to win the silver medal behind the Russian Olympic team, while the British Olympic team won bronze.
At a press conference following the event Biles said that she had been concerned that she might damage her team’s chances of winning a medal and that she felt it was best to withdraw to prevent that. Biles praised her teammates for persevering to win silver, a difficult feat for a team missing its best gymnast.
With the original reason for her departure reported as a medical issue, Biles addressed questions about her physical and mental state saying, “No injuries, thankfully, and that’s why I took a step back, because I didn’t want to do something silly out there and get injured.”
The 24-year-old is the most decorated American gymnast in the Olympic Games and in other international gymnastics competitions. She is considered by many to be the greatest gymnast of all time and is arguably the most recognized Olympian currently on Team USA.
It remains unclear whether Biles will participate in the Women’s Individual All-Around Competition, of which she is the defending champion. The competition is the next event on the schedule and will take place on Thursday, July 29.
Biles has qualified for all six of the different artistic gymnastics finals at this year’s Olympic Games and can still compete in other events. If she competes in the other five, she will be the first woman to compete in all six finals since 1992.
“We’re going to take it a day at a time,” she said on Tuesday. “I know tomorrow that we have a half day or at least the morning off, so it will be a good mental rest and so we will take it from there.”