US Gymnast Simone Biles withdraws from individual all-around event ‘to focus on mental health’

Image Source: Sky Sports

Team USA gymnast Simone Biles has withdrawn from the women’s individual all-round event at Tokyo 2020 after exiting Tuesday’s team competition, citing mental health in both decisions.

At 24, Biles is already the most successful US gymnast of all time having won four gold medals and a bronze at Rio 2016. As a 30-time Olympic and World Championship medallist, she needs four podium places at this year’s Olympics to become the most decorated gymnast – male or female – in history.

When speaking to the BBC after the team event on Tuesday, Biles said: “I have to focus on my mental health. I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now.

“We have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.

“I don’t trust myself as much anymore. Maybe it’s getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world.

“We’re not just athletes. We’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back.

“I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and get hurt. ​I feel like a lot of athletes speaking up has really helped.

“It’s so big, it’s the Olympic Games. At the end of the day we don’t want to be carried out of there on a stretcher.”

On Wednesday, USA Gymnastics shared the following statement via Twitter: