The U.S. women’s gymnastics team came up short in its quest for a third consecutive Olympic gold medal. The team finished 3.5 points behind the Russian Olympic Committee and took home the silver. That was due, in part, to the loss of Simone Biles.
Biles completed just one event during Tuesday’s competition before bowing out. She bailed out of a vault, logging only a 13.766 on the move — an unusually low score for her — before leaving the floor with a trainer. She returned to the floor but was declared out of the competition because of a medical issue that Biles later confirmed was mental.
“I felt like it would be better to take a back seat,” Biles said. “I didn’t want to risk the team a medal because they worked way too hard for my screw-ups.”
Biles’ former teammate, Aly Raisman, noted that this was a reminder of the immense pressure that the 24-year-old Biles is constantly under.
“When you watch the coverage of gymnastics, I think sometimes people forget she is human, she has pains like all of us, she has stress,” Raisman told NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday morning after Biles withdrew from the competition. “Simone has more pressure than any other gymnast I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. It’s insane how much pressure is on her.”
And Raisman felt for Biles after she decided to remove herself from competition.
“My heart dropped and I was just devastated and I still am,” Raisman said.
Athletes, politicians, media personalities and fans shared Raisman’s sentiments. After Biles’ exit from the competition, Twitter was filled with plenty of well wishes for the Team USA star and acknowledgments that she will be the greatest gymnast of all time no matter what happens at the 2021 Olympics.
Certainly, Biles will appreciate these messages as she figures out what’s next for her. She qualified for the Olympic all-around final — set to begin on Thursday, July 29 — and for each of the event finals that take place Aug. 1-3 but wouldn’t commit to participating.
“We’ll see,” she said of competing in the five remaining events.
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