Biles Withdraws From Competition, Team USA Takes Silver

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Gymnastics star Simone Biles is part of a US team going for Olympic gold in the women's team event
Gymnastics star Simone Biles is part of a US team going for Olympic gold in the women's team event

The US women’s gymnastics team suffered a devastating blow when superstar Simone Biles withdrew from Tuesday’s team finals. Biles walked off the competition floor with a trainer after landing her vault, and it was announced that she had pulled out of the event soon afterwards.

"Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue," USA Gymnastics said in a statement. "She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions."

There was some initial confusion regarding why Biles could no longer compete. It was first reported that Biles didn’t suffer a physical injury, and according to NBC commentators, Biles’ coach said the gymnast was dealing with a “mental issue.”

However, Biles had her leg wrapped when she returned to cheer on her team as it appears that the 24-year-old had suffered a leg injury. It’s not yet known if Biles will be able to return to action at this year’s Games.

 

 

 

Biles is arguably the greatest gymnast in U.S. history. She won five medals, including four golds, at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Biles got off to a relatively slow start in Tokyo, scoring lower than expected in Sunday’s qualifiers. The Olympian admitted to feeling the pressure of the expectations that have been placed upon her.

"[I]t 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 said 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!"

Without Biles, the U.S. won the silver medal in Tuesday’s team event. The Russian Olympic Committee team took gold, ending Team USA’s bid for a third straight first-place finish in the event.

 

 

Biles’ injury wasn’t the only obstacle put in front of Team USA. The women have been forced to compete without spectators, and some believe the empty venue might’ve had a negative effect on the team’s performance.

“They are feeling a little lost because there’s no audience there to feed off of that adrenaline,” Three-time Olympian Dominique Dawes told CNBC after the U.S. finished second in Sunday’s qualifiers. “I couldn’t imagine at any of my three Olympic games not having the audience there chanting, ‘Go USA!’ or, at least, just feeding off of their energy, so it has to be tough.”

Team USA will have to get used to competing without fans in attendance. Spectators have been banned for the entirety of the Tokyo Olympics because of rising COVID-19 cases in Japan.


Gymnastics star Simone Biles is part of a US team going for Olympic gold in the women's team event

Photo: AFP / Loic VENANCE

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