Simone Biles Withdraws from All-Around Gymnastics Final at Olympics

Simone Biles wearing a mask before the start of the Olympics, in Tokyo, Japan, July 27, 2021. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Gymnast Simone Biles said she has decided to withdraw from the individual all-around final scheduled for Thursday at the Tokyo Olympics.

The all-around sees gymnasts compete on balance beam, vault, uneven bars, and floor competition. Biles, 24, has not lost an all-around since 2013.

USA Gymnastics said Biles withdrew because of a mental-health issue, in a statement to reporters.

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

The decision comes after Biles exited the gymnastics team finals on Tuesday. Biles said she feared she would injure herself or others during that competition because she wasn’t in the right “mental space.”

Biles became “lost in the air” while competing on a vault, essentially becoming disoriented midway through the combination.

“I had no idea where I was in the air,” Biles said. “I could have hurt myself.”

Biles has been widely referred to as the greatest gymnast of all time, and in May completed what is considered the most difficult vault combination ever attempted by a female gymnast. However, she has also been frank about feeling pressure coming into the Olympics.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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