Champion gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from Olympics competition due to a mental health issue, not a physical injury.
That’s according to CBS journalist Steve Futterman, who wrote on Twitter on July 27, 2021, “#SimoneBiles says she was NOT injured. Suggests it was a mental health issue that caused her to cut short her participation in team competition.”
Biles herself confirmed as much on the TODAY Show.
“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” she told Hoda Kotb exclusively on TODAY. “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”
“To focus on my wellbeing,” she told reporters of why she left the competition, in a press conference. “And you know, there’s more to life than just gymnastics.” She also said she was inspired by tennis player Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from Wimbledon to take personal time.
Biles’ sister tweeted about mental health after Simone’s withdrawal, writing, “y’all are all about mental health until it no longer benefits you.. i can’t imagine being that inconsiderate WHEWWWW.”
There had been conflicting reports about why Biles withdrew from competition.
Here’s what you need to know:
Biles Admitted the Pressure Was Getting to Her
In an Instagram post on July 26, 2021, the day before she pulled out of competition, Biles admitted the pressure was getting to her.
“prelims ☑️ now to prepare for finals,” she wrote.
“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. 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!”
Daily Mail reported that she said, after withdrawing, “It is very unfortunate that it has to happen at this stage because I definitely wanted this Olympics to go a little bit better but again, we’ll take it one day at a time and we’re going to see how the rest goes.”
According to Sports Illustrated, she was captured on camera telling a team doctor, “I don’t want to do it. I’m done.” According to SI, she also said, “I just don’t trust myself as much as I used to,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s age, but I’m a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics. I feel like I’m also not having as much fun, and I know that this Olympic Games I wanted to do it for myself, and I was still doing it for other people, so that just hurts my heart badly, that doing what I love has been taken away.” She also began to cry.
Biles’ Withdrawal From Competition Was Unexpected
According to Daily Beast, Biles’ withdrawal from competition was unexpected, and initially the reason given by USA Gymnastics was an unspecified “medical issue.”
She withdraw after performing poorly on the vault, and ultimately the team goal went to Russia. The Today Show reported that USA Gymnastics had said Biles “will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”
NBC commentators said that Biles’ coaches also confirmed she withdraw from competition due to a “mental issue,” Daily Mail reported.