Simone Biles will not defend her all-around gold medal, USA Gymnastics confirmed Wednesday morning.
The 24-year-old superstar has withdrawn from individual competition at the Tokyo Olympics to focus on her mental health, her team said.
“Simone will be evaluated daily to determine whether or not he will compete in next week’s individual finals,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement.
“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her courage to prioritize her well-being. Her courage shows once again why she is a role model to so many.”
Jade Carey, who had the ninth highest score in qualifiers, will now replace Biles in the all-around.
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Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, shocked the Olympic world on Tuesday when she suddenly withdrew during the team gymnastics final.
Biles said the emotional toll of the Tokyo Games, not a physical injury, prompted her to leave.
“Physically I feel good,” she told Hoda Kotb on NBC’s “TODAY” show after she pulled out. “Emotionally, that kind of time and moment varies. Coming here to the Olympics and being the main star of the Olympics is not an easy feat. So we just try to take it day by day, and we’ll see.”
Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, who has been candid about his own struggles with depression, said on Wednesday he knows how Biles feels.
“We carry a lot of things, a lot of weight on our shoulders,” he said in an interview with NBC sports reporter Mike Tirico. “And it’s a challenge, especially when we have the lights on us and all these expectations thrown at us.”
Later, during a meeting with NBC News reporters, two of Biles’ teammates, Grace McCallum and Jordan Chiles, expressed support for their teammate and said they are persevering.
“It was a crazy, crazy ride,” Chiles said, noting that due to a pandemic they have had to train and compete in locations where no one is encouraging them because there is a state of emergency in Tokyo and no fans are allowed on the stand.
When asked how she copes with the stress, Chiles replied “shopping online.”
“I’m a sneakerhead,” she said.