Simone Biles, four-time Olympic gold medalist, will not compete in Thursday’s individual all-around competition after withdrawing from the team finals because of a mental health issue, according to an emailed statement from U.S.A. Gymnastics.
Biles will be evaluated daily to see if she will participate in the event finals next week.
“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being,” the statement said. “Her courage shows, yet again, while she is a role model for so many.”
Biles, 24, had qualified for all four event finals and was expected to win gold in at least three of those events. In the all-around, she was hoping to repeat her title from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games to become the first woman to win back-to-back titles in the all-around in 53 years.
Biles stepping back from the Olympic all-around marks the end of an era in the sport. She hasn’t lost an all-around competition since 2013 when she was 16 and still wore braces. The contest tests individual athletes on all four disciplines: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor competition, to determine the most complete gymnast.
Source: New York Times