Simone Biles withdraws from the all-round final in Tokyo 2020 to focus on mental health

Her retirement comes after the 24-year-old – one of the greatest gymnasts of all time – stepped away from a dramatic team competition on Tuesday, citing mental concerns as she tries to protect “her body and mind.”

USA Gymnastics said it supported her decision “wholeheartedly”, adding in its statement that Biles would be assessed every day.

“Following further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the last individual all-round competition at the Tokyo Olympics to focus on her mental health,” read a statement on USA Gymnastics’ Twitter account.

“Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to decide whether she will attend next week’s individual event finals or not. Jade Carey, who had the ninth highest score in qualifying, will take her place in the all-around.

Simone Biles' withdrawal reminds us that she is human - and still very much GEDEN

“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and welcome her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows once again why she is a role model for so many.”

Biles had been one of the favorites to win gold in Thursday’s final, having won every individual all-round competition she has participated in since 2013. After Sunday’s qualifier in Tokyo, Biles had finished first with a score of 57,731.

She still has the opportunity to compete in other individual events during the rest of the games, after qualifying for individual finals in each apparatus: volts, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.

On Tuesday, Biles said she would take the rest of the Olympics “one day at a time” as she looks set to add to her pull of four gold medals won at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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READ: ‘I need to focus on my mental health,’ says Simone Biles

‘I need to focus on my mental health’

The eyes of the world were on Biles this week as she aimed to add to her remarkable legacy.

But her emotional interview after Tuesday’s team final put the issue of mental health at the center of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Earlier that day, Naomi Osaka, who has also spoken openly about her own mental problems, was knocked out of the women’s Olympic tennis tournament.

“When you get into a situation of high stress, you get a little freaked out,” Biles told reporters Tuesday. “I have to focus on my mental health and not endanger my health and well-being.

“It’s just a shame when you struggle with your own head.”


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