Simone Biles withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics women’s gymnastics final on Thursday after an additional medical evaluation determined that she is not yet ready to compete. The news followed her dramatic decision to stop competing in the women’s tag team event on Tuesday after only one rotation in the vault due to mental health issues.
However, a statement from American gymnastics left open the possibility that Biles, who could potentially compete in four more finals, could return for individual events at the Games next week.
“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the individual final competition,” he stated. “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her courage in prioritizing her well-being. His courage shows, once again, why he is a role model for so many. “
Jade Carey, who finished ninth in the standings, will take Biles’s place in the overall standings. Carey initially did not qualify because she was the American in third place behind Biles and Sunisa Lee. The rules of the International Gymnastics Federation limit countries to two athletes per event in the final.
The organization said Biles will be evaluated before deciding whether to participate in the individual events next week.
Meanwhile, Biles’ decision has been widely praised by America’s sports superstars, with Michael Phelps among those insisting it would “open the doors” to the mental health of athletes.
Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history with 23 gold medals, admitted that seeing Biles walk out of the arena “broke my heart” but said her actions would cause waves well beyond this year’s Olympics.
“I hope this is an eye-opening experience, really.” “I hope this is an opportunity for us to come on board, and even blow up this mental health issue even more. It is much bigger than we can imagine.
“We carry a lot of weight on our shoulders and it is a challenge, especially when we have the lights on us and all these expectations are above us.”
Speaking to NBC, Phelps also recalled his own battles with mental health and said he had found it difficult to ask for support when he needed it.
“I can personally say that it was very challenging. It was difficult for me to ask for help. But it is very important, especially to teach children at an early age to take control of their physical and mental health. We are human beings. Nobody is perfect. “
Meanwhile, speaking after winning her sixth Olympic gold medal in the women’s 1,500m, Katie Ledecky spoke of the pressure Biles had been under.
“Everyone is watching, certainly Simone has a lot of eyes on her,” he said. “The cameras follow you, I experience that on days like today. You can feel like a lot of people are looking at you and every move you make is being watched and judged. “
“I have known Simone over the years and we are in contact from time to time,” he added. “I hope she knows that I really support her and I hope she does very well for the rest of this week.”
American sprinter and long jumper Tianna Bartoletta, who won three golds at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, said Biles’ actions would resonate far beyond sport.
“There are people who saw Simone walk away from this and are knee deep in shit right now,” she wrote. “You saw the best gymnast of all time come down from the biggest stage and I guarantee you that for the first time that same someone somewhere is thinking …
“If she can get away from it, with all of that at stake for her, with the whole country and maybe even the world warming up with her hot shots, maybe, just maybe I can take this step to walk too. Maybe there is a lot of power. And hope is an incredible drug. “
Biles, who said she decided to resign to protect her “mind and body” rather than do what the world wanted her to do, was also praised by the International Olympic Committee.
“What we can all say, regardless of what happened, we have great respect and support for her,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.
Adams added that the IOC had provided psychologists in the Athlete’s Village, as well as a helpline for athletes in 70 languages. “Mental health is an incredibly important topic. Are we doing enough? I hope so, I think. But like everyone else in the world, we can do more on this topic.”