Simone Biles pulls out of Olympics all-around gymnastics final to focus on mental health
- Biles cited mental health concern in Tuesday’s withdrawal
- No decision on her participation in individual finals
Simone Biles has withdrawn from the women’s all-around gymnastics final at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday after a further medical evaluation determined that she is not yet ready to compete. The news followed her dramatic decision to stop competing in the women’s team event on Tuesday after only one rotation on the vault due to mental health issues.
However, a statement from US gymnastics left open the possibility that Biles, who could still compete in four more finals, may return for the individual events at the Games next week.
“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition,” it stated. “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her wellbeing. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”
Jade Carey, who finished ninth in qualifying, will take Biles’s place in the all-around. Carey initially did not qualify because she was the third-ranking American behind Biles and Sunisa Lee. International Gymnastics Federation rules limit countries to two athletes per event in the finals.
The organisation said Biles will be evaluated before deciding if she will participate in next week’s individual events.
Meanwhile Biles’s decision has been widely praised by America’s sporting superstars, with Michael Phelps among those insisting that it would “blow the doors open” over athlete mental health.
Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history with 23 gold medals, said that seeing Biles leave the arena “broke my heart” but said her actions would make waves far beyond this year’s Olympic Games.
“I hope this is an eye-opening experience, I really do,” he added. “I hope this is an opportunity for us to jump on board, and to even blow this mental health thing even more wide open. It is so much bigger than we can ever imagine.