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‘Being Head Star Isn’t an Easy Feat’: Simone Biles Issues a Statement Following Untimely Exit from Women’s Gymnastics Team Finals During Tokyo Olympics

Gymnastics champion Simone Biles has left the women’s gymnastics team finals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics reportedly over mental health concerns, with several media outlets reporting the cause to be a “medical issue.”

While addressing the media on Tuesday, July 27, after the U.S. women’s team went on to win silver, with Biles serving as head cheerleader. The Russian Olympic Committee took home gold.

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 27: Simone Biles of Team United States competes on vault during the Women’s Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” said Biles. “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment.” She added, “Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time, and we’ll see.”

Early Tuesday morning, USA Gymnastics shared a post on Twitter, revealing that the athlete had dropped out of the event. “Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,” the statement read. It continued, “She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions. Thinking of you, Simone!”

At the time, not much was revealed regarding what precisely the medical issue was, however, several outlets reported that the star might have been suffering from a “mental issue” and that the pressures of the games had finally gotten to the 24-year-old. The athlete posted on social media days before that the Olympics “were no joke.”

Further elaborating on the matter, the Ohio native told reporters from the BBC that she was “dealing with things internally that will get fixed in the next couple of days.”

According to ESPN, Biles suffered a misstep while executing an “Amanar” vault during warmups that was thought to have contributed to her untimely exit from the competition. The sports outlet reported that the entire move required a “roundoff back handspring onto the table followed by 2 1/2/ twists.” Instead, the gold medalist did just 1½ twists with a giant leap forward after landing. 

Biles was later spotted talking to U.S. team doctor Marcia Faustin before leaving the arena visibly upset with a trainer from USA Gymnastics. Jordan Chiles, a reserve, replaced the star after she left the floor ahead of her uneven bars rotation. Biles soon returned with her wrist wrapped as if to compete, but she later unwrapped them and put on her warm-up suit. 

Fans flocked to social media to show the athlete support, including one Twitter user who wrote, “STOP PUTTING SO MUCH PRESSURE ON HER TO BE THE SOLE FACE OF DOMINATION AS THE US OLYMPIC TEAM!!! F-ck.” They added, “Do they not understand the pressure upon these athletes just to perform much less laying the entire media of the games on their shoulders as well.”

Another person wrote, “Doesn’t matter whether it’s a physical or mental injury. Love seeing Simone standing beside, and cheering on, her teammates. Class act. Get well soon, you’re a delight on the apparatus and off.”

Biles, who’s also the most decorated female gymnast in the history of world gymnastics, is eligible for women’s all-around finals set for Thursday, July 29, and apparatus finals set for Aug. 1 to 3, with Biles having qualified for balance beam, vault, floor exercise and uneven bars.

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