Simone Biles Explains Pulling Out of Events; Discusses Her Mental Health and Return

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 3, 2021

Simone Biles, of the United States, finishes on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's apparatus final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Simone Biles closed her run at the Tokyo Olympics with a bronze on balance beam in her return to competition after pulling out of several events while suffering from mental health issues.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist withdrew from the team final while suffering from "twisties," a condition suffered by gymnastics that causes them to struggle controlling their body in the air. She later dropped out of the individual all-around, vault, floor and uneven bars finals despite qualifying for each.

Biles discussed her eventful week after competing Tuesday, per D'Arcy Maine of ESPN.com:

"It wasn't easy pulling out of all those competitions. People just thought it was easy, but I physically and mentally was not in the right head space and I didn't want to jeopardize my health and my safety because at the end of the day, it's not worth it."

The bronze represented the seventh career Olympic medal and the second in Tokyo for Biles, who won four gold medals for Team USA in 2016.

The 24-year-old came into the Games facing enormous expectations , but it was clear there wasn't much of an option.

"I was OK with missing finals because I knew I couldn't do it," she said Tuesday. "My problem was why my body and my mind weren't in sync, and that's what I couldn't wrap my head around."

Biles told reporters earlier in the week that her safety was at stake.

"At the end of the day, it's like we want to walk out of here, not be dragged out here on the stretcher or anything," she said.

A return to competition Tuesday showed she was back on the right track, grabbing a bronze medal after finishing just seventh in the event during qualifying. In doing so, she tied Shannon Miller's Team USA record of seven Olympic gymnastics medals.

The American women performed well overall in Tokyo, earning a silver medal in the team competition, while Sunisa Lee and Jade Carey won individual gold. MyKayla Skinner also earned a silver medal on vault.