United States gymnast Simone Biles, universally acknowledged as the best gymnast in history, withdrew from the team event at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday after stumbling badly in landing a vault.
The sudden withdrawal resulted in the Russian Olympic Committee team taking the gold, with the American team earning silver; Great Britain came in third for the bronze medal.
Biles, who at 24 hung on to compete in her second Olympics after many thought she might retire with the four gold medals she had won in Rio in 2016, had stated on Sunday that she “had the weight of the world” on her shoulders during these Games.
She made several errors during the team qualifying round that day, taking so many steps after one of her tumbling passes in the floor exercise that she went completely off the mat and almost down a stair step.
She later came in eighth in the uneven bars event – an event that she has admitted that she “hates” although she has historically competed so well in it that she has helped the team overall.
Biles, who wears a sequined goat on her uniforms signifying that she is the Greatest Of All Time, withdrew from the women’s team final today after she had to seek help from the trainer.
She came back to the team area with a heavily-wrapped foot, but that is normal for her and other athletes; she usually gets a complete wrap job on her feet and ankles before every performance and is wrapped for every floor exercise.
However, she did not warm up for the uneven bars, which is the US team’s second apparatus in the team event today.
Her Houston teammate Jordan Chiles, who moved to Texas in order to train with Biles, is warming up now.
Official statement: "Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions."
Thinking of you, Simone! pic.twitter.com/QA1GYHwWTv
— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 27, 2021
Reporters on the scene saw Biles sitting on the sidelines in a full tracksuit with her foot heavily wrapped.
In a recent New York Times article, Biles admitted that her ankles hurt “all the time.”
Asked at that time by reporters, just prior to leaving for Tokyo, Biles was asked to name “the happiest moment of her career.”
“Honestly, probably my time off,” she replied — leaving an impression of a stressed-out champion who perhaps has pushed herself a bit too far in training another year after she had hoped she would have been able to retire.
In a post-event press conference, Biles admitted that stress had taken a toll on her, from the aded year of preparation needed for the 2021 Games to the lack of audience support to the 5 1/2 hours the team had to wait after warmups until they had to perform.
It is unknown at press time whether or not she will be physically able to compete in the individual all-around event at the Olympics or the four apparatus finals.
The US was hoping to win a third consecutive Olympic gold medal in team gymnastics at Tokyo, while Biles was seeking to add too her medal haul of four gold medals she had earned at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.