Simone Biles says wants to ‘focus on my mental health’ and ‘doesn’t trust myself as much any more’ after withdrawing from the women’s team gymnastics final at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old, who is one of Team USA’s biggest stars at this summer’s Games and is a four-time Olympic champion, pulled out of the competition after making a rare error during the first event.
Biles recorded the lowest score of her Olympic career on the vault and briefly withdrew from the arena before returning to support her teammates with strapping on her foot.
According to NBC’s commentators, Biles’ coach said that her withdrawal was due to a ‘mental issue’, however, USA Gymnastics later released a statement which claimed that she could no longer compete due to a ‘medical issue’.
Without Biles, Team USA were forced to settle for silver, with the Russian Olympic Committee winning gold. Team Great Britain secured the bronze medal.
Asked if she is okay after the medal ceremony, Biles told the BBC: ‘Yes, I’m okay. Just dealing with things internally that will get fixed out within the next couple of days. But super proud of how they stepped up to the plate tonight and worked.’
Probed on whether she will return for the individual events on Thursday, Biles replied: ‘Yes, thank you.’
Speaking to several reporters after the final, Biles highlighted her need to prioritise her mental wellbeing and admitted that she is not fully confident in her own ability to perform.
‘I have to focus on my mental health,’ she said.
‘I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now, we have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.
‘I don’t trust myself as much any more, maybe it’s getting older.
‘There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world.
‘We’re not just athletes, we’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back.
‘I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and get hurt. I feel like a lot of athletes speaking up has really helped.
‘It’s so big, it’s the Olympic Games, at the end of the day we don’t want to be carried out of there on a stretcher.
‘You have to be there 100 per cent or 120 per cent or you’re going to hurt yourself.’
In a separate interview with TODAY, Biles said: ‘Physically, I feel good.
‘Emotionally it varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn’t an easy feat.’
On Monday, Biles made it clear that she was feeling intense pressure from the Olympics.
‘It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it. I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times,’ Biles wrote on Instagram.
‘I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke! BUT I’m happy my family was able to be with me virtually they mean the world to me!’
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