She'll decide on her final event this week.
Simone Biles has officially withdrawn from the floor final at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. On Sunday, August 1, USA Gymnastics announced that the star gymnast would not appear in Monday’s competition. “Simone has withdrawn from the event final for floor and will make a decision on beam later this week. Either way, we’re all behind you, Simone,” USAG tweeted.
Although the 24-year-old qualified for all individual event finals last week and was projected to win multiple Gold medals entering the games, she withdrew from the team final on July 27 after competing in one event. During Biles’ vault routine, she attempted to do the difficult Amanar vault, which normally comes naturally to her. But she fell out of the air one twist short and barely stuck the landing. She attributed “the twisties” (aka a dangerous loss of air awareness) she was experiencing to mental health concerns, and decided to step back.
“[A gymnast] literally cannot tell up from down [when having the twisties],” Biles explained on IG Stories that same day. “It’s the craziest feeling ever... not having an inch of control over your body.” She continued, “What’s even scarier is since I have no idea where I am in the air, I also have NO idea how I’m going to land. Or what I’m going to land on... head, hands, feet back...”
The U.S. women’s gymnastics team ultimately took home silver in the team final, and as Biles explained, she made the right decision in prioritizing her well-being.
“I have to put my pride aside,” the athlete told reporters on July 27. “I have to do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being.”
It’s still unclear whether Biles will compete in Tuesday’s balance beam final, but expect her and the attending medical staff to make a decision later this week. The surprising shake-ups in competitors has been one of the many big surprises of the Tokyo Olympics, which have been widely scrutinized because of COVID-related issues — Japan’s vaccination rate is incredibly low, and numerous athletes have tested positive.
Regardless of what happens, seeing top athletes like Biles and tennis player Naomi Osaka put their mental health and well-being first is an undeniably powerful, important thing.