Simone Biles withdrew from the rest of the Olympic team gymnastics final

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It’s been a brutal five days for the top female athletes at the Olympics. I’ll admit to paying closer attention to Olympic tennis more than anything else, so I’m mostly focused on the fact that Ash Barty (the top seed) lost first round in singles, Aryna Sabalenka (the third seed) lost in a rough three-setter in the second round, and Naomi Osaka (the second seed) lost in 67 minutes in her third round last night. There are still great players in the draw though and no one is about to “fluke” a medal.

Alongside all of the tennis drama on the women’s side, everything has seemed a little bit “off” with Team USA’s female gymnasts. Sunday night, I watched some of Team USA’s vaults and Simone Biles just seemed mega-stressed and downright weary. The American women are now trailing the Russians (ROC) in gymnastics scores and… Simone Biles just pulled out.

Simone Biles walked off the competition floor with the team’s medical trainer following her first routine of the women’s team final on Tuesday. The decorated gymnast, 24, exited the area moments after she bailed on her planned Amanar vault for an easier one and posted a 13.766, the lowest vault score of her Olympics career.

For the uneven bars, the U.S. team’s second apparatus, reserve Jordan Chiles replaced Biles. According to the official scoreboard as of now, Biles is being rested for the other three apparatuses. NBC announced during the broadcast that Biles had pulled out of the rest of the finals. Chiles, Suni Lee and Grace McCallum will continue on with the competition.

In Tokyo, Biles, the reigning Olympic all-around champion, was on track to compete for six gold medals after making the event finals in vault, floor, bars and beam.

[From People]

From what I saw of the gymnastics, it wasn’t just stress or pressure, although I’m sure all of that has been weighing on Simone too. I think she’s physically injured. But that’s not what Team USA’s people are saying – they aren’t giving an explanation for the withdrawal other than “a mental issue” and they’re just asking people to give Simone some space. Something else I keep thinking about with so many of these athletes: they don’t have their full teams or their families around them. Their families had to stay home and there are limits to how many team members can be brought to the Olympics.

The official statement and unofficial statements:

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Photos courtesy of Getty.

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129 Responses to “Simone Biles withdrew from the rest of the Olympic team gymnastics final”

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  1. Merricat says:

    Oh, no!
    Poor Simone. I hope she knows she has our support.

    • Escondista says:

      This! I grew up watching gymnastics and thinking that those girls were having the time of their lives. After learning that Larry Nassar was able to molest them because he was the only adult who didn’t run the place like a gulag, I literally stopped caring about winning and started caring about teenage girls learning about boundaries and their autonomy. Simone has given tons more than she ever needed to and she is showing the younger generation that they need to put themselves first too. Medals be damned. I’m gonna start my own Olympics with women’s shorts for the volleyball players and pure joy for 16 year old gymnasts.

    • Bros says:

      This is the most ridiculous olympics and the olympics are ridiculous in general. People should read this article for such an excellent exposé of what a corrupt bs thing it is.

      https://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/water-activities/plot-kill-olympics/

    • Jensies says:

      I feel so protective of Simone. I’ve never felt like DMing an athlete before to just say that I hope they’re ok. She’s incredible and I hope she has good people around her to support her through this.

    • Rice says:

      The minute I saw her step out of bounds during her floor routine, I had a feeling that something was off. These athletes go through so much. On top of their sexualisation regarding the skimpy outfits (gymnastics, beach volleyball, etc.), they have to fight off sexual predators, no family support at the Tokyo Games, and attention-seeking weirdos like Megyn Kelly and Pus Morgan.

  2. Becks1 says:

    We turned it on a few minutes before they announced her withdrawal and the announcers were SHOCKED. Apparently her vault was not up to her usual standard (but they haven’t shown a repeat of it so no clue) – I wonder if the pressure really is getting to her? Not having the normal support group around her probably plays a big role. She’s had so much focus on her and there’s so much pressure for her to be perfect, I can’t even imagine. I hope she is okay.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I read excerpts from an interview with her and she says that she relies on seeing her parents being in the audience to steady her nerves and that they are not there might have impacted her.

      But I think its an injury and they don’t want it reported just yet.

      • sunny says:

        Also in one of those pre-taped athlete interview segments Simone talked about how part of the reason she didn’t retire is that she was worried that if she did(as the last active athlete who is a survivor of Nassar) that it would make accountability for USAG less likely.

        That is a hell of an additional burden and makes me sick to think about.

      • Becks1 says:

        @sunny ugh I didn’t know she had said that. That’s a huge additional burden for her.

      • Pusspants says:

        @ Sunny, I saw that too & it is a terrible burden to feel. Simone Biles owes nothing to anyone! I’m glad she is pulling back if she feels she needs to do that for herself. As someone who researches & treats trauma, it can be difficult to exert boundaries of any kind when someone has been physically assaulted. I applaud her for modeling to other gymnasts, survivors & girls/women in general that it is okay to say ‘I’m done.’

      • Anna says:

        Omg @sunny That is devastating. We must protect Simone Biles at all costs. I pray and send her love because she is bearing so much. Wow. And it’s been a hard year for everyone and athletes are human. They’re affected by loss and death around us all this year and the stress of elections in this country and just everything. Being there without family while covid numbers are going up in Tokyo. All of that on top of everything she is already dealing with. It’s good to have the example that Black women refuse to be machines for the powers that be. Cheering her on!

  3. A says:

    Dunno what the initial reporting was about because USA Gymnastics is reporting it’s a medical issue and there are pictures of her on the sidelines with her ankle taped up.

    Even if it is ‘mental’ that doesn’t make it less serious or less of a reason to withdraw.

    • Becks1 says:

      The initial reporting was that it was an injury but NBC has a quote from someone else (the team doctor maybe? I didnt catch who it was) and they are saying its not a physical injury, and being clear that its contrary to the initial reports, so I don’t know, the reporting is weird.

      ETA saw in this post that it was from Simone’s coach, but look at the wording – not a physical issue, but US Gymnastics says it was a medical issue. So a mental health issue is a medical issue.

      • A says:

        You are absolutely correct. I phrased it very poorly. A mental health issue is a medical issue

    • sa says:

      Yeah, USA gymnastics tweet was that it was a medical issue and she’ll be evaluated daily before she’s cleared for competitions. I hope she’s okay.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I’m not going to specuate on what the issue could be, but it is not unusual for gymnasts to be taped up / wearing kinetic tape and the like, so that might not mean anything here. As an example, I was watching the men’s team final last night and a Russian gymnast had both ankles taped, a Japanese gymnast had his right elbow wrapped up, and so on.

      Whatever may be happening here with Biles, I hope she’ll be okay.

    • Carty says:

      Read on gymnastics blog she has some broken toes, which maybe she’s competed with before but it might have gotten in her head, which was dangerous on her vault. She changed it mid flight and about sat it down. Feel bad for her.

  4. Kristina19 says:

    She seems exhausted.

    • Hillbo Baggins says:

      I thought the same thing watching her maybe last night or the night before. She just looks exhausted and worn down. I can’t even imagine how hard this whole year has been for her.

  5. Snuffles says:

    I hope Simone knows she has nothing left to prove.

    • KissMyA**23 says:

      Me too… she’s the GOAT!

      • Isabella says:

        The pressure on Simone was ridiculous and unfair. She was never going to win 6 gold medals. No one is the world’s best on every apparatus. I really enjoyed seeing the other competitors and wish NBC had more respect for other countries and showed us the actual competition, not just U.S.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      I do too! She is an exceptional athlete and woman, wise beyond her years and seems to be such an exceptional addition to not only sports but also for women around the world.

    • nicole says:

      1000%

  6. a reader says:

    I am up watching Team USA softball (currently down 2-0 to Japan) and they just announced this and I gasped. Poor Simone…. she’s under so much pressure!! I hope she’s truly not injured and that she has all the support she needs during this very stressful time.

  7. CMChat says:

    A mental issue is a medical issue

    • North of Boston says:

      This!

      If is in in fact a mental issue, mental health issues ARE medical issues.

      I am wondering though, with her ankle being taped, and other indications, if it isn’t also some injury that she thought she could push through but just couldn’t.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      Thank you!

    • Msmlnp says:

      LOUDER for those in the back 🙌🏻

    • Esmom says:

      Indeed, thank you. And I cannot imagine the pressure she feels. These games feel a bit cursed to me.

      • Laughysaphy says:

        Agreed, I thought the same thing this morning after this news broke, but instead of cursed, I think they’re f**ked. What a mess.

    • meloroast says:

      Ugh so much yes. It makes me insane how we somehow separate our mind/soul from our body.
      I honestly hope she quits gymnastics and finds some balance in her life. Just live.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      USA Gymnastics DID call it a “medical issue,” so I don’t think they are saying what people think (that “mental issues aren’t medical”).

    • Amanda says:

      Absolutely.

  8. Darla says:

    First of all, I wish her the fullest and speediest recovery.

    But so many outlets reporting it was an injury. Early reporting is always a mess. I guess we will see.

  9. Caroline says:

    I’m sorry for her but it’s also true that she wasn’t doing good performances.

    • Truthiness says:

      What? She was in first place after qualifiers. She outscored everyone else on the planet that day in women’s gymnastics and you are saying she wasn’t doing good?! Her worst day is leagues ahead of your best day and you are choosing to criticize her. She can rest on the sidelines for the rest of the olympics and she will still be the best gymnast at that meet and in the world.

      • Pusspants says:

        Thank you for pointing this out Thruthiness! Compared to others, she was doing very well & is still great on her bad days.

    • Truthiness says:

      Second of all Caroline, now that Simone withdrew for the day, what is she doing? She is cheering on her teammates loudly, helping them chalk up and advising. She has been honest that every day her body hurts from what she is putting it through. So instead of treatment and quiet time, she is supporting the team. That tells you everything you need to know about true leadership. That’s not just good, it’s stellar.

    • Jaded says:

      Caroline, do you understand how hard gymnasts push their bodies? Wayyyy beyond the scope of what normal, healthy people do. It is a harsh sport and Simone is actually considered “old” for this kind of grueling competition. Rather than push herself beyond her mental, emotional and physical capabilities, which she has already done in her career, maybe she realizes that she’s pushed herself too far and needs to take a step back before she injures herself badly and/or simply burns out. She is and always will be an exceptional human being and her focus on her teammates is admirable.

  10. Myra says:

    She has already accomplished so much at such a young age. The pressure must be intense for her. She deserves a break and to take it easy on her body and mind.

  11. DC Gal says:

    I find the use of “mental issue” really offensive. That’s not even proper medical terminology for a “mental issue.” Besides that it draws a distinction between mind – body that has no meaning. Mind affects body and vice-a-versa. Really poorly done. It also increases the stigma attached to mental health- like if she were just stronger, she could push past it because it’s “only” a mental issue when in fact it could be debilitating anxiety or something. Ask me how I know.

    Regardless I hope Simone is ok. I think something really bad must be happening for her to do this :( hopefully she gets the support she needs. It won’t come from the powers that be if the use of “mental issue” is any indication

    EDIT: the USA gymnastics statement is the only appropriate statement!

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ DG Gal, I also find it absolutely intrusive and out right unprofessional to PRINT that Simones issues are due to “mental issues”!! If that is the case, they have NO right to disclose such personal health information on a world wide platform!!! Simone is the official GOAT of gymnastics of any competitor in history!! The lack of controls of ethics and medical care are certainly being exposed and violated to alter her well being as being too emotionally fragile to compete. They must retract these violations of her health immediately, no matter her core reason for withdrawal.

      They have set their sights on Simone due to her incredible and historical feats that have already drawn backlash against the unfavorable scoring system that they have placed upon Simone, calling her feats as “dangerous” as other competitors cannot compete at her magnificent physical level.

      Bottom line is that she needs as much support as possible from every athlete and reporting sources to understand and respect her wellbeing.

    • Pusspants says:

      I have nothing to add other then to vociferously agree with this!!

  12. Lisa says:

    Hope she’s ok, she’s more important than the Olympics.

  13. girl_ninja says:

    The Maggot crowd is thrilled. Trash people all around that set.

    Simone has given more for her country than it deserves. I pray for her to rest and recuperate.

  14. Roo says:

    I want to give her huge hugs, tell her that she is wonderful and has done great things, and she has our full support.

    • Esmom says:

      I know, right? It’s heartbreaking to imagine the pressure and the toll it must take.

  15. Lucy2 says:

    Oh no! I just watched the qualifier last night, she took a few big steps on various things and seemed upset with herself, but she was still incredible.
    Whatever the situation is, it’s a joy to watch her, and she will forever be the greatest. I wish her nothing but the best.

  16. Mrs. Smith says:

    I’m a known wimp, but just the time difference alone would be throwing me off. Can’t imagine needing Olympic-worthy poise and nailing a perfect score if I’m in a brain fog from that much of a time lag.

    • SomeChick says:

      altitude could also be an issue. not sure what it is where they are, but altitude changes definitely affect physical and mental performance.

    • Ange says:

      They got there like 8 days beforehand, they should have been fine by then. And Tokyo is a very flat city overall.

  17. mellie says:

    These kids, yes kids, because I’m 50 and these girls are my daughters age…have too much pressure. These are the Olympic ‘games’…it’s a game and it should be just a little bit fun. I know that sounds corny and hokey. I’m watching it online right now and they are tough gals, all of them, they are amazing athletes from first to last place, all the girls, from every team. And with COVID protocols these kids can’t even have any fun during their downtime at the games. It’s just so sad at how pressure filled and hateful of a society that we have become, I’m hoping that the US fans rally around them and send them positive messages on their social media, because 99% of us can’t even do a handstand!

  18. Lemons says:

    I don’t think the conditions allow for these athletes to perform at their best….I mean…cardboard beds? Really?

    Outside of that, there must be an incredible amount of stress with the Covid rules in place. That’s in addition to the normal stress of competing in the Olympics.

    I think it’s both physical and mental, and Simone just can’t get a good feel for her body in that environment. Having done a bit of gymnastics before…you really need to feel in tune with yourself and your movements. At her level, any deviation from that can cause serious injury.

    • pearlime says:

      The US gymnastics team isn’t staying in the Olympic village, but in a hotel. It is not mandatory for athletes to stay in the Olympic village during the Games.

      Btw. plenty of athletes have stated that those beds are quite comfortable. They are adjustable, well designed, eco-friendly and the bullsh*t story about them being anti-sex beds was the media running away with one US athlete’s social media post.

      • AnnaC says:

        This. Many of the high profile athletes, ie gymnasts, men’s basketball, some of the big name swimmers, opt out of the Olympic village, at least while competing. Teams, esp. those from sports with well funded national organizations, go over several weeks early to acclimate to time zone changes, altitude, weather, food, etc.

        And unrelated to this, and not applicable to Tokyo, but if you ever have a chance to go to an Olympics, do it! Even if you can only afford tickets to prelims or the lower profile events, it’s such an amazing experience. And after their competitions are over, the athletes like to go out and mingle/celebrate in whatever city are in. Have been to 3 summer games, and regularly ran into athletes out to dinner, bar hopping at night, sightseeing, passing around their medals to anyone asking to see/hold. It’s so fun!

  19. TIFFANY says:

    It is looking more and more that the Olympics should have been pushed back a year. I feel for the athletes but am happy the Olympics committee and IOC is getting exactly what they deserve.

  20. Truthiness says:

    I hope she is okay! Her health is more important than any medals. ❤

  21. Neners says:

    A mental issue is a medical issue. And this is particularly true in gymnastics. The amount of focus it takes to do these elements….Unless you’ve done gymnastics, I don’t think it’s possible to understand. Whatever was going on, she seemed to lose all air-awareness mid-vault doing one of the most difficult vaults in the world. I’ve had this happen doing way simpler skills (obviously 😂). It’s terrifying!

    • Becks1 says:

      I saw a quote from her about feeling “rattled” and that was why she stepped away, so it sounds like you’re right – that she did not feel like she could continue to compete safely. (rattled was the word in the headline attributed to her, not my word.)

  22. windyriver says:

    Aly Raisman made some good points – not only did the US women lose the backbone of their team, with the competition already in progress – but also, at the last minute, some changes were also made to the order of competion on each apparatus. All of this could have been hugely disorienting and demoralizing for these athletes – and yet, the US still won the silver medal. They should be so proud of themselves.

    • sa says:

      “ the US still won the silver medal. They should be so proud of themselves.”

      Exactly, they won a silver medal at the Olympics. It’s an amazing accomplishment. Yet the news alert I got was that they “settled for silver.” It happens every Olympics and it annoys me every Olympics.

      • Meghan says:

        I haven’t kept up with the USA medal count but I get thrilled when I see that other countries are winning medals. Not to take away from our amazing athletes but as spectators “we” (the USA) have got to get over the “we must win gold at EVERYTHING.” We need to chill out and give our athletes some space to make mistakes or just embrace the fact that sometimes other people are BETTER.

        I’ve been so worried that Simone would get injured because I knew how certain people would turn on her. I hope she gets the rest she needs and can make the decision for herself if she wants to continue. And I hope she does it all knowing she is still the greatest no matter what.

  23. Lonnietinks says:

    I assumed she had a panic attack, which is definitely a scary medical issue. You can’t be under that much pressure for so long without it taking a toll on you. I wish her peace and healing.

  24. Tiffany :) says:

    I think back to Keri Strugg, and how she was made to do a vault on a freaking broken ankle, and the world APPLAUDED. It’s just not worth it! I’m glad we’re at a point where we let the athletes stop if they can’t go on. As sad as I am for her, I’m so thankful she had a choice.

    • lanne says:

      She didn’t even need to do the vault for the gold medal. So she ruined her chances at an individual medal because of that vault

      • A says:

        @lanne, I did not actually know this, and I just want to say, what the actual f-ck.

        Also, the person who egged on Keri Strugg to do that vault in the first place was Bela Karolyi. Who, as it turned out, was employing Larry Nassar at his training ranch, and a significant reason for the toxic environment that a lot of these athletes are facing.

      • Truthiness says:

        Not only that, but Kerri was walked/carried from the podium and given to Larry Nasser. The man in prison, yes, THAT Larry Nasser. You can Google the pictures.

    • Becks1 says:

      Good point. I remember that and she was hailed as a hero and she saved the team etc etc. She had a broken ankle and they made her vault. Like, WTF. So from that perspective, this is a big step forward.

      • J&A’s Mom says:

        It wasn’t a broken ankle. She tore ligaments in her ankle.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        J&A, that’s still a serious injury that needed medical attention. It was barbaric that they made her compete in that condition.

  25. Kalli says:

    I feel for her–she’s amazing, we all know it and she knows it. She’s not a jerk about it, but she knows it. But for everyone to be constantly talking her up as “the GOAT” (which I find disrespectful to other athletes), keeping her busy with all of these sponsorship deals, being team leader, being in Japan without all of her normal support, stress over Covid, being there a year after she was meant to compete (she may have peaked last year and overconditioned)–we shouldn’t be surprised something pushed her too far. Whether that’s a mental issue or an injury, doesn’t matter. Simone deserves to be happy and healthy. Glad she was brave enough to show the world that she has limits, even as “the GOAT.”

    • AnnaC says:

      I feel for her too, and also agree with your points. And if she is eligible and opts to come back to compete for the individual all around title and individual apparatus medals, I really will feel for her as the media/world will come down HARD on her.

  26. Amanda says:

    I wish the Olympics were really about world unity and human excellence.

    Instead, it is a commercialized, exploitative ur-competition that views athletes as things, interchangeable, replaceable toys to sell gross “food” products, and focuses on hyper-nationalism and pushing a twisted form of unquestioning patriotism, winning above all and being the best, whatever that means at a given time.

    The mere fact a Black woman is excluded for marijuana use and a white man is allowed to remain in competition despite serious charges of violence against women should make it obvious this is not really about excellence, but reaffirming existing power structures where rich imperialist countries like the US and Russia and China compete for tenths of points.

    I used to love the Olympics, but they really abuse and pressure young people. Simone Biles is a brilliant athlete and an extraordinarily brave young woman who has endured unimaginable pressure. I feel deeply for her.

    • Dilettante says:

      All of this.

    • Jaded says:

      What broke my heart when Sha’Carri Richardson was disqualified, was that she she was honest about why she was using pot — it was because her mother had died the week before trials and she was having some serious grief and anxiety issues which occasional pot use mitigated.

      • Darla says:

        God. I didn’t know this part of it.

      • Anna says:

        Yes @Jaded That was heartbreaking and I’m still pissed about it. Beyond mad. That was evil what they did and they did it on purpose. She should be there and everyone knows it. Whoever wins gold will know that that wouldn’t have been possible if Sha’Carri was there.

    • Darla says:

      Wow, this is a great post. Yes.

  27. molly says:

    I hate all of this so much for her. UGH.

  28. TrixC says:

    I think people who are judging her for this forget how dangerous the sport of gymnastics is. Like, if you’re a runner or a swimmer and you’re feeling a bit sub-par, you could still go ahead with the competition knowing you wouldn’t be risking your life. But if you attempt a difficult vault or a tumbling pass and it goes wrong, you could quite literally die.

  29. jferber says:

    Trix C, you’re absolutely right and it didn’t even occur to me before you wrote it. Gymnasts have died or become paralyzed by something going wrong on the mat. Simone Biles IS the absolute greatest. I agree they should have postponed the Olympics.

    • AnnaC says:

      They do, but equipment now is also so much safer. Until the 70’s the balance beam was wood, no padding; the floor exercise surface was changed in 2016 and it is significantly more padded and springy s, which is why they can go so much higher when flipping vs say Nadia Comaneci in 1976; and look at the vault equipment used up until 2000 vs the one now.

      • A says:

        @AnnaC, there have been athletes as recently as the 2000s who have gotten injured so badly that they got paralyzed and then passed away. And that on the newer, safer equipment.

        Gymnastics is a thrilling sport, but it’s an extremely dangerous one too. While safety improvements have been made, the skill level of the competition has also risen significantly to match it. That’s why it still remains a dangerous sport.

  30. HeyThere! says:

    I love Simone so much. She is super human and she has nothing to prove to anyone! She is the goat! I hope she gets the rest and help that she needs.
    I wish they would’ve worded it different because a mental issue is a health issue….it is a medical issue.

  31. Jenna says:

    Biles’ handlers might want to be a little more forthcoming about what’s going on with her, because right now it looks like she decided to cut her losses on the team portion to focus on her medal chances in the individual events.

    The writing was on the wall pretty early on that Russia was bringing it hard. I watched an analyst break it down on a score-by-score, event-by-event basis how nearly impossible it would be for the American team to take gold. Even a dominant Biles wouldn’t likely change the team’s silver fate, and she’s far from dominating these games.

    I saw an interview yesterday where she talked about being afraid of injuring herself. If she comes roaring back in individual events after conserving strength by ditching her team, she is going to get ripped to shreds.

    • windyriver says:

      *Warning, potential spoiler if you haven’t watched the competition yet…

      Simone herself has been very forthcoming about what’s going on with her. She said as the competition approached, she found herself uncharacteristically shaking. On NBC sports you can watch the replay via the team tracker feed (blissfully, no commentary), which followed Simone from the moment she stepped up to the vault platform. It’s obvious something is very much not right with her. She gave it a shot, but the vault was poor. “I felt like it would be better to take a back seat. I didn’t want to risk the team a medal because they worked too hard for my screw ups.” The feed also shows she had an extended conversation with one of the team staff, so likely the decision to withdraw wasn’t hers alone.

      Also, the ROC team was good, but not exactly dominating, despite what your analyst had to say. At the end of the third rotation, the US was behind by only .8; even the on air announcers thought it was just possible for the US to pull off the gold. And hard to imagine the score wouldn’t have been very different with the level of execution and difficulty that Biles brings when she’s totally on.

      The Russian team clinched the gold because their final rotation floor exercises were very good. But they were helped by the fact that two of the US team members made big mistakes on floor, one of which was serious enough to result in a loss of almost two points compared to that person’s same routine in the qualifying round.

      Especially with the types of moves Biles executes, she’s smart to pull back if she knows she’s not fully present, because she really can injure herself. Without her, the team won the silver, and was in spitting distance of the gold; what a boost in confidence that must be for them to know what they are capable of without the presence of the team ‘star’.

  32. sassafras says:

    This brought up such a good conversation with my kids today. The fact that these Olympians were prepared AF for 2020 and then had to *stay* prepared, mentally and physically, through another year of disruption, uncertainty and turmoil AND trying not get sick and not to let anyone down. It’s too much for 99% of human beings. And I get alllll the pro/cons of holding the Olympics this year but I wish they’d given them another year. Having two years between olympics didn’t hurt the Winter athletes when they switched back in the 90′s.

  33. Wit of the Staircase says:

    Withdrawing had to be the last thing she wanted. Tougher than a Yurchenko. So mad props for Simone listening to her gut and doing what was right for HER.

  34. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    On a side (but related) note, the ROC team should not even be there. They are making a mockery of the ban against Russia for doping/cheating.

    • Another Nina says:

      Not true. Russian gymnasts haven’t had massive problems with doping and are not under sanctions.

  35. Poppy says:

    When I think how stressful covid has been for the average person, I can’t imagine the toll it must be taking on elite athletes. I mean, I’m teary, tired and stressed and it must be a thousand times worse for Simone Biles. I really hope she gets better – mentally and physically.

  36. Shannon says:

    This is a super stressful Olympics for all the athletes. I follow Gymnastics regularly, and I did worry about USA not having the support they are used to going into these games.

    I am currently streaming the team final event. I don’t want to know the outcome though I know it’s already known to some.

    Please CB….don’t spoil results early. Give us a day to catch up. This is like the only site I am going to and I am hoping not to be spoiled because even with the streaming AG starts so early on here on PDT.

    UGH!!!!!!!!

    • Shannon says:

      Good Lord, I just learned in the replay she withdrew…. OMG….. OMG. Did we just concede to the silver? Please don’t tell me. At this point I am conducting my own personal stream consciousness. WTF! My heart is hurting for USA Gymnastics.

      If they win silver, everyone will say that the Karoylis were right.

      UGH….

      Simone…. simone

      • Shannon says:

        The entire rotation on vault just hurt my heart. Sunisa can bring it though. She’s one of the best specialist I’ve seen in American recent history. GO USA!!!!!!

        And the ROC is laughing as they change rotations…..LORD HELP through this next rotation.

      • heygingersnaps says:

        what are you on about?!
        “Did we just concede to the silver? ” Were you there? Are you part of the team? Stop co-opting those girls’ and their team’s achievements. Simone doesn’t owe you or anyone anything.

      • Shannon says:

        Heygingersnaps! I’m a fan, which means fanatic. Don’t counsel me on my fandom….okay!

        Though…your sarcastic response has pretty much spoiled it for me.

        UGH……..you are probably a four year fan with no knowledge of gymnastics. I seriously dislike ppl like you.

      • Shannon says:

        Go JO!!!! Way to come back on bars….. I’m so nervous. I don’t even think I can make it through this.

        I have goosebumps!

        Never count out a Russian. NEVER! I mean, these women train with BOLSHOI BALLET. They do all the choreography.

        Sunisa Lee nearly flawless. WTG!

      • heygingersnaps says:

        lol! with “fans” like you those girls don’t need anymore enemies.

        ““I think it’s high time that athletes start putting their physical and mental health ahead of the sort of arbitrary ideas of national greatness,” said Faye Linda Wachs, professor of sociology at California State Polytechnic University.

        Many people consider it an “honor to represent your country” in the Olympics, Wachs said, but athletes are people who have earned their achievements and have the right to withdraw from competition like any worker, especially when the safety risks are high. ”

        https://19thnews.org/2021/07/simone-biles-withdrew-from-team-finals-and-thats-ok/?utm_source=The+19th&utm_campaign=7e2b6c3427-19th-newsletters-daily-0727&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a35c3279be-7e2b6c3427-360952692

    • Meghan says:

      This makes me so angry. So what if we “conceded” to a silver or a bronze or to not even medaling?!

      For anyone who has trained so hard and for so long to get to this point to stop and say no I cannot do it right now I need to protect myself takes an insane amount of courage. Someone who is feeling off during a gymnastics event could seriously injure themselves if they try to perform when not feeling up to it. Then where would “we” be?

      Priotirizing taking care of yourself and making sure you don’t get injured or worse is more important than a damn medal.

    • Kkat says:

      Shannon are you insane? Because you sound unhinged.

      I’m glad she withdrew if she felt that was right for her. Gymnastics is insanely dangerous if your not in the right mindset, especially at this level.

      No worthless hunk of metal is worth her risking the rest of her life with an injury.

      It’s stupid for them to be having the games right now, it’s up to what..127 people in the village have covid now?

  37. Lory says:

    I’m sure just being in Tokyo can be triggering for Simone, since the abuse revelations by Nassar came out around the 2016 Olympics.

  38. MoP says:

    Ok, I have an alternate theory: what if she’s pregnant? When I first got pregnant (not even a month along) I had no idea what was wrong with me – terrible fatigue, achy… just a thought.

    • Kkat says:

      If she were it could be a problem, when I was first pregnant I would immediately have my balance thrown off. I’d stagger around.
      It was like I was drunk or spinning around til I was dizzy.

  39. Gold ladder says:

    Someone on Twitter brought up she may have the gymnastics equivalent of the Yips (in baseball, that’s when you all of a sudden can’t throw accurately anymore).

    Looking at the slow mo replay on the vault, it looks like she was completely off and disoriented in the air, so this theory definitely sounds plausible.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      The vault can be so dangerous! How terrifying.

    • Truthiness says:

      She has had uncanny spatial awareness and control while she hurtles herself into the air. Thank God she had the ability to say what was missing, and the coaches LISTENED and acted without putting pressure on her for medal potential. The messaging may have been awkward at times but this should be the new normal: if the athlete doesn’t feel okay, they can opt out. They compete every day with injuries so we 100% know it has to be serious for a withdrawal to occur.

    • Anna says:

      omg I just learned that term “the Yips” from tv Ted Lasso which is unexpectedly really good and hilarious in parts.

  40. Busyann says:

    I didn’t see what happened but I heard about it. Poor Simone. I’m glad she was there rooting for her team and hope that she is okay. BUT….little bit of criticism here, just for athletes in general, not Simone specifically.

    I’ve heard a lot of analysts say during the games that this year long delay was good for the rookies, but bad for the Olympic vets. The Olympic vets were ready and prepared last year for gold in what probably would have been a lot of their final Olympics. They’re now playing and training for a year longer than many probably would have. That has to be hard on your body and mind.

    The criticism I have is maybe more athletes need to consider retiring while on top instead of just going and going until they are run down, exhausted, and past their prime. It’s okay to be the best and walk away at any time, but I wish more would consider retiring sooner.

  41. Lelbit says:

    Social platforms are what’s mentally toxic for this generation living up to all them expectations BUT they won’t stay off them. They let them run their world. I’m glad I came from millennium generation. Now she is going to be remembered for being a quitter – that road will be a tougher one.

    • Duch says:

      Or she’ll be remembered as someone who was open about mental issues. And this isn’t for like playing baseball – she lands wrong, she could be paralyzed for life.

    • Kkat says:

      What is with all the stupid trolls showing up lately

      No she won’t be known as a quitter

  42. Veronica S. says:

    I mean…these athletes put their bodies through SO MUCH at a young age, and the older you get, the harder it gets to bounce back even from more minor injuries. I have to think that starts taking a psychological toll on top of all the intense pressure that already exists on them. She and her fellow competitors have sacrificed so much already to excel as they have. A lot of them literally throw away their childhoods to become competitors. At some point, you just can’t blame them for cracking under the pressure, much less making the wise decision to sometimes quit when they’re ahead before they permanently injure themselves.

  43. Ange says:

    I have to say the backlash she’s received online for withdrawing has been disgusting. Simone doesn’t owe anyone a medal and it’s gross that so many of her own countrymen are happily ripping her to shreds despite what she’s done for the country AND what she’s gone through for it.

  44. Lady Digby says:

    Overweight and toxic Piss Moron has maligned Simone on Twitter and been justly dragged for it. What is it about talented strong women who are POC ? He has a young daughter to nurture and he is setting her the worst example!

  45. Scandi says:

    In 1979, the Russian gymnast Elena Mukhina broke her neck because she was pressured to do a dangerous jumps with a broken leg (the Thomas salto). She became lame from her neck and down.

    Now – Simone Biles may not have a physical injury, but her mind har been through a lot, and her mind is scarred. She should not be competing, if her mind isn’t in place, because second guessing can be fatal in her sport.

    I hope she recovers, so we can see her again! She is admired globally – she is all over the news in Denmark, and people are cheering for her!

  46. Jayna says:

    Michael Phelps was so wonderful last night talking about Simone and mental health in sports. He’s such an advocate for mental health issues.

  47. North of Boston says:

    In gymnastics mindless “grit” can get you seriously injured or killed. I’d rather have an athlete who can give their all but also know when they are not up to competing, who can display grit when it’s warranted but also good judgment.

  48. Northstar says:

    Perhaps labeling her the GOAT, rather than being kind, simply increases the pressure on her beyond bearing?

    • Merricat says:

      I don’t think people refer to her as the GOAT out of “kindness.”

      • Northstar says:

        Way to miss the point. GOAT is a label that demands inhuman performance all the time. No wonder we see so many “GOATS” experiencing mental health issues. There must be better expressions of support we could use.

      • Ed says:

        Not really

  49. erica says:

    It would help if they would clarify what the issue is. Leaving the issue as ” you fill in the blanks “only lead to speculation.