The U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastic team won a silver medal after Simone Biles’s performance at the first round of the international competition on July 27. The news comes after the champion gymnast withdrew from the Tokyo Games, citing mental health reasons.
Uncharacteristically for the 24-year-old gymnast, Biles stumbled at the end of her vault routine. It was expected that she would execute the infamous Yurchenko double pike, but instead of completing 2.5 rotations, she ended up completing 1.5. Subsequently, that lowered the difficultly of her performance and her overall score.
She scored 13.766 on the vault — whereas at the Rio Olympics, she scored 15.933. Overall, Russia ended up taking home the gold with a collective score of 169.528 from their gymnasts. The U.S. silver medal was secured with its total score of 166.096.
NPR shared that it was after that initial vault performance that “Biles said she pulled her coaches aside and said she wanted to withdraw.” For the rest of the competition, she wore white sweats and stood on the sidelines to cheer on her teammates — all three of whom are first-time Olympians — as they took turns showing off their skills throughout the remaining uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.
“I can’t risk a medal for the team, so I need to call it,” Biles told NPR. “And you usually don’t hear me say things like that because I usually persevere and push through things.”
“Today has been really stressful,” she continued. “I’ve just never felt like this going into a competition before. I tried to go out here and have fun … but once I came out here, I was like, ‘no, mental is not there, so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.'”
“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” the Olympian told TODAY, before adding, “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”
USA Gymnastics gave further details regarding the gymnast’s withdrawal by explaining that she made the decision “due to a medical issue” and that “she will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”
Sarah Hirshland, the CEO of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, spoke on behalf of the organization and shared it is “proud” of who Biles is “as a person, teammate, and athlete.”
Her statement to the gymnastics champ went onto say, “We applaud your decision to prioritize your mental wellness over all else, and offer you the full support and resources of our Team USA community as you navigate the journey ahead.”
If you didn’t know, Biles is often referred to as the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) when it comes to her status in the gymnastics world and her capability. To date, she’s won 35 Olympic medals, 27 of which are gold.