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Simone Biles Withdraws from Vault, Bars Event Finals at Tokyo Olympics

Adam WellsJuly 31, 2021

Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images

Simone Biles won't compete in the event finals for the vault and uneven bars on Sunday. 

USA Gymnastics issued a statement Friday announcing that Biles has withdrawn from both events. 

Emily Giambalvo @EmilyGiam

USA Gymnastics: "We remain in awe of Simone, who continues to handle this situation with courage and grace, and all of the athletes who have stepped up during these unexpected circumstances."

Biles stepped aside from the team competition Tuesday after dealing with a gymnastics phenomenon known as the "twisties," which can lead to serious injury when an athlete loses positioning in the air, and she withdrew from the individual all-around Thursday to continue focusing on her mental health.

"Once I came out here [to compete], I was like, 'No, mental is not there, so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself,'" she said after Tuesday's team event.

Biles is making her second Olympics appearance after winning five medals (four gold and one bronze) at the 2016 Rio Games. That breakout showing included finishing atop the podium in the team and individual all-around competitions. She previously added silver medal in this year's team competition.

The 24-year-old Ohio native established herself as the favorite for the 2021 Olympics all-around by winning gold in the event at the 2019 World Championships. Any thought the Games' yearlong delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic altered that status was eliminated by her dominance at the United States' national championships in June, where she captured four golds highlighted by the all-around title.

That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her unmatched accomplishments during a senior career that began in 2013. She's captured numerous other medals, including memorable performances in three FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cups and several U.S. Classic events.

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She arrived in Tokyo as the Olympics' unquestioned brightest star following the retirements of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, who went through their swan songs at the Games in 2016.

Biles, who'd already flirted with the idea of retirement before deciding to compete this summer, told Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated in mid-July there's something uniquely challenging about picking a career where the end arrives at such an early age.

"It sucks when you reach your peak at 23, 24, you know?" Biles said. "Because it's all downhill from there."

She added: "That's a big task. Making sure it goes up from there."

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