Simone Biles Withdraws from Individual All-Around to Focus on Mental Health

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 28, 2021

Simone Biles, of the United States, waits for her turn to perform during the artistic gymnastics women's final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

USA Gymnastics announced Wednesday that Simone Biles has withdrawn from Thursday's individual all-around competition in women's gymnastics at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

In a statement, USA Gymnastics noted that the decision was made for Biles to focus on her mental health following a medical evaluation:

USA Gymnastics @USAGym

After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition. 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. <a href="https://t.co/6ILdtSQF7o">pic.twitter.com/6ILdtSQF7o</a>

NBC Olympics also tweeted an update on Biles' status:

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

Update on Simone Biles:<br><br>After further medical evaluation, to focus on her mental health, it has been announced that Simone Biles is out of the All Around. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TokyoOlympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TokyoOlympics</a> <a href="https://t.co/bgeOkUfE1V">pic.twitter.com/bgeOkUfE1V</a>

Per USA Gymnastics, Jade Carey will replace Biles in the individual all-around. Biles will continue to be evaluated before determining whether she will compete in the individual event finals next week.

During Tuesday's team final, Biles stumbled on her vault attempt during the first rotation. She withdrew from the team event shortly thereafter and was replaced by Jordan Chiles.

USA Gymnastics subsequently released a statement, noting that Biles was dealing with a "medical issue" and would be evaluated moving forward:

USA Gymnastics @USAGym

Official statement: "Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue.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."<br><br>Thinking of you, Simone! <a href="https://t.co/QA1GYHwWTv">pic.twitter.com/QA1GYHwWTv</a>

Biles addressed the media after Team USA took silver in the team event. Per ESPN's Michele Steele, Biles alluded to her decision to pull out of the team competition being related to her mental health, saying: "It's been really stressful this Olympic Games...it’s been a long week, a long Olympic process, a long year. I think we're a little too stressed out. We should be out here having fun and that's just not the case."

The 24-year-old added: "Once I came out here, I was like, no the mental is not there. I had to let the girls do it."

During the NBC broadcast (h/t CBS News), Biles said: "Physically, I feel good, I'm in shape. Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn't an easy feat, so we're just trying to take it one day at a time and we'll see."

Biles' exit from the individual all-around means she won't defend her Olympic gold medal in the event from 2016. 

In qualifying at these Olympics, the five-time world champion finished first in the all-around by more than 0.300 points over Brazil's Rebeca Andrade. American Suni Lee was third, followed by three gymnasts representing the Russian Olympic Committee.

Andrade is perhaps the new favorite, although Lee has a chance to continue Team USA's impressive streak in the Olympic women's individual all-around.

The U.S. has taken gold in the all-around at each of the past four Summer Games, with Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin, Gabby Douglas and Biles prevailing.

In addition to qualifying for the individual all-around, Biles qualified for each of the four apparatus finals. It is unclear if Biles—who won gold in vault and floor exercise and bronze in balance beam at the 2016 Olympics—will compete in any of those finals in Tokyo.