American gymnastics star Simone Biles has withdrawn from Thursday's all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
Biles, 24, withdrew from the team final following her first rotation. Team USA finished in second place, while Russia took the gold and Britain earned the bronze. During the team finals, Biles faltered on her vault after she "lost herself midair," causing her to complete 1 1/2 twists instead of 2 1/2, CBN News reports.
On Wednesday, USA Gymnastics, the national governing body of gymnastics in the nation, posted a statement explaining that Biles had opted out of the competition in order to focus on her mental health.
"After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health," the statement reads.
The organization added that Biles will undergo daily evaluation for her mental health to determine if she will participate in next week's individual finals. Meanwhile, Jade Carey, who finished ninth in qualifications, will replace Biles in Thursday's all-around competition.
"We wholeheartedly support Simone's decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many," the statement concluded.
On Monday, Biles posted to Instagram, noting that she was "feeling the weight of the world" on her shoulders before her withdrawal.
"I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn't affect me but damn sometimes it's hard hahaha!" the athlete wrote." The Olympics is no joke! BUT I'm happy my family was able to be with me virtually. They mean the world to me!"
While some may not agree with Biles' decision to withdraw, she received an outpouring of support from her peers and other athletes on social media.
Sunisa Lee, one of Biles' teammates, posted a photo of herself, Biles and two other teammates, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum, after winning the silver medal.
"THE FIGHTING 4," she wrote.
THE FIGHTING 4. pic.twitter.com/f8YWClsYiP— Sunisa lee (@sunisalee_) July 28, 2021
USA gymnast MyKayla Skinner, who did not qualify for the finals, extended her support to Biles in light of her struggle.
"I'm so so proud of our girls for fighting to the very end. Each one of them is gold in my eyes. We are all human… Can't imagine what Simone is going through. She deserves all the support in the world right now. And still our GOAT!!!" Skinner tweeted. GOAT means "Greatest of all time."
I’m so so proud of our girls for fighting to the very end. Each one of them is gold in my eyes. We are all human… Can’t imagine what Simone is going through. She deserves all the support in the world right now. And still our GOAT!!! 🐐❤️🏆— MyKayla Skinner (Harmer) (@mykaylaskinner) July 27, 2021
Olympic medalist and NCAA champion, Samantha Nicole Peszek, tweeted:
"Sending so much support to @Simone_Biles rn. It's hard to imagine all the pressure she's feeling. The weight of the world can be heavy, so I hope she knows we all love her and are so proud of her."
Sending so much support to @Simone_Biles rn. It's hard to imagine all the pressure she's feeling. The weight of the world can be heavy, so I hope she knows we all love her and are so proud of her.— Samantha Peszek (@samanthapeszek) July 27, 2021
Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, is considered by many to be one of the greatest gymnasts of all time. Her withdrawal from the Olympic Games follows professional tennis player Naomi Osaka's withdrawal from the 2021 French Open and Wimbledon to take care of her mental health. Osaka is ranked the number two best tennis player in the world.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Laurence Griffiths/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.