Simone Biles Withdraws From Another Competition To Focus On Mental Health

by Christina Marfice
Laurence Griffiths/ Getty

A day after her withdrawal from the gymnastics team finals, Simone Biles has dropped out of the individual all-around, too

Simone Biles’s 2021 Olympic journey isn’t looking anything like anyone thought it would. After going to Tokyo at the top of her game, gold medals seeming to be a foregone conclusion, Biles has dropped out of the individual all-around competition, citing a need to focus on her mental health. Her announcement came one day after she abruptly withdrew from the team gymnastics final after the first event.

“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. “Her courage shows, yet again, while she is a role model for so many.”

Biles completed just one event — the vault — during the team finals on Tuesday. She planned to attempt a difficult, two-and-a-half twist move, but she got lost in the air, only completed one-and-a-half twists, and stumbled on her landing. After consulting with her coach, she took off her wristguards, hugged her teammates, and withdrew from competition.

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 27: The ROC team is congratulated on their gold medal victory by Simone Biles and the United States team during the Team final for Women at Ariake Gymnastics Centre during the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Corbis via Getty Images

“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,'” Biles told reporters after withdrawing from the team finals. “I’m still struggling with some things. It just sucks when you are fighting with your own head.”

At first, no one knew if Biles would still compete in individual events, scheduled to begin at the end of this week. Amid the speculation, it was reported that Biles, who posted on Instagram that she felt like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders at these Games, was shaking and unable to sleep before the team competition. As one of the biggest stars in this year’s Games, the pressure on her has been immense.

Biles’ withdrawal from the individual all-around is a shock to many of her fans. She hasn’t lost an all-around competition since 2013. The competition tests gymnasts on vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor competition. Biles won gold in individual all-around in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and repeating the title would have made her the first woman to win back-to-back gold medals in the all-around in 53 years.

Biles also qualified for the finals in all four individual events. Those competitions are scheduled to take place next week, and USA Gymnastics has said she will be evaluated daily to see if she will still compete in the individual events.