TOKYO (KXAN) — Reigning Olympic all-around women’s gymnastics champion Simone Biles withdrew from the team finals competition Tuesday, citing a need to focus on her mental health.
In a statement, USA Gymnastics explained that Biles withdrew from the team finals “due to a medical issue.”
Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.USA Gymnastics
Biles clarified at a news conference she was not injured, but needed to focus on her mental health and didn’t want to “risk the team a medal for my screw-ups because they’ve worked way too hard for that.”
“I took a step back because I didn’t want to do something silly out there and get injured, so I thought it was best if these girls took over the rest of the job, which they absolutely did. They’re Olympic silver medalists now and they should be really proud of themselves,” Biles said.
Biles completed her first vault, and then was seen walking off the floor with a bag and her trainer. Jordan Chiles was subbed in Biles’ spot following her departure. She returned to the arena with a wrap around her leg and hugged her teammates, cheering them on through the competition.
“I say put mental health first because if you don’t then you’re not going to enjoy your sport and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to,” she said “So it’s OK sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself because it shows how strong of a competitor and person that you really are.”
Biles noted how stressful these Olympic Games have been and that there have been a lot of different variables that have made it “a long week. It’s been a long Olympic process. It’s been a long year.”
Biles, who lives in Spring, Texas, won four gold medals at the 2016 Rio Games including the team competition and the all-around, along with vault and floor exercise. She became the first woman since 1992 to qualify for every event final in the competition — team, all-around, vault, floor exercise, balance beam and uneven bars.
Team USA finished second to the Russian Olympic Committee in the competition.