Upon her arrival in Tokyo, gymnast Simone Biles became the face of the American Olympic team, if not the whole Olympic competition.
In her mind, she had already mentally prepared herself for the stress. And she was prepared to shoulder those lofty standards.
But on Tuesday night, as the final for the women’s gymnastics team drew closer, there was an unsettling feeling in the air. The athlete who is universally recognised as the best ever understood she was special.
Biles felt she had had enough of fighting off the self-doubt that kept popping up despite her history of doing so successfully. She finished what she had to do. At least for the time being.
After only one round of play, the American star withdrew, paving the way for the Russian team to win gold for the first time in nearly three decades.
Simone Biles Steps Back to Step up for Mental Health
The crowd became silent following Simone Biles’s vault attempt at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, which was noticeably below her usual standards.
Even as the announcer at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre talked about the four other events happening at the same time, all eyes were on Biles.
She left the mat and walked off the floor with one of the coaches.
The media rushed to provide an update. One person stated he heard it was a psychiatric issue, while another reported she had sprained her ankle.
Also, Biles was seen on film saying “I can’t go up there” after the clip went viral on social media.
The USA Gymnastics team immediately issued a tweet announcing that Biles had been forced to withdraw from the competition due to a “medical concern.”
But Biles stayed by her teammates and acted as a coach, even doing a little dance with Jordan Chiles to an instrumental rendition of Ed Sheeran’s breakout hit Shape of You. It’s clear that the wound was not bodily.
Sunisa ‘Suni’ Lee, a gymnast on the United States Olympic team, won a gold medal at the 2021 Tokyo Games. Going head-to-head with Simone Biles, the prohibitive favourite to win the gold and one of the best gymnasts of all time, is never easy.
Lee, who had finished third in the preliminary round, was overjoyed to have won first place. Lee, who had previously admired the seven-time Olympic medalist from afar, was given the opportunity to compete alongside Biles for the United States of America at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.