Simone Biles explains decision to withdraw from gymnastics team final
Simone Biles explained her decision to withdraw from the women’s team gymnastics final Tuesday, suggesting she was worried about hurting her team or herself if she competed further.
Biles spoke to reporters after her withdrawal, stating that she was mentally unprepared to perform to her expectations. After struggling with the vault, she added that she was worried about “(doing) something stupid and (getting) hurt.”
“After the performance I did, I just didn’t want to go on,” Biles said, via the BBC. “I have to focus on my mental health. I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now. We have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.”
Biles added that she did not trust herself as much as she had in the past, adding that she didn’t want to be “carried out of there on a stretcher.”
“I don’t trust myself as much anymore,” Biles said. “Maybe it’s getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world. We’re not just athletes. We’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back.
“I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and get hurt. I feel like a lot of athletes speaking up has really helped. It’s so big, it’s the Olympic Games. At the end of the day we don’t want to be carried out of there on a stretcher.”
According to The Athletic, Biles also said she had “never felt like this before.”
The 24-year-old said she was going to take a day on Wednesday to recover mentally before assessing whether she would compete in individual events, starting with Thursday’s all-around competition. She had said earlier in the day that she still plans on competing in that event.
Biles also was not at her sharpest during preliminary rounds even before her struggles on the vault in Tuesday’s final. One of her coaches cited a “mental issue” after her withdrawal.