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UPDATED, 8:16 PM: Elite gymnast Simone Biles has pulled out another Olympic event: the individual floor exercise, scheduled for Monday. Whether she’ll compete in the balance beam event taking place Tuesday remains to be determined.
USA Gymnastics confirmed the development on Saturday night, via their official Twitter account. “Simone has withdrawn from the event final for floor and will make a decision on beam later this week,” a spokesperson wrote. “Either way, we’re all behind you, Simone.”
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The floor exercise is just the latest in a series of events Biles has pulled out of this week. She announced on Friday (Saturday in Tokyo) that she would not participate this weekend in the uneven bars or the vault. On Thursday, she declared that she would not participate in the individual all-around final. Biles’ first announcement—that she would remove herself from women’s team competition—came on Tuesday.
While Biles is being replaced in the vault by MyKayla Skinner—and by Suni Lee, in the case of the uneven bars—no additional American gymnasts qualified for the floor exercise or the balanced beam. This means that the U.S. is out of the floor event, and may end up having to withdraw from balance beam, as well. Biles’ spot in the floor exercise final is being taken by Britain’s Jennifer Gadirova.
When the six-time Olympic medalist was asked at a Tuesday press conference about her decision to pull out of women’s team competition, she cited her desire to “focus on [her] well-being.”
Her decision to prioritize her mental health over her athletic pursuits has drawn support from former First Lady Michelle Obama, Today‘s Hoda Kotb, Kerry Washington, Justin Bieber and Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, among many other high-profile figures.
“The outpouring [of] love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before,” Biles wrote on Twitter, in response.
PREVIOUSLY, JULY 30: The world’s greatest gymnast, Simone Biles, has bowed out of scheduled Olympic events for the third time this week. On Tuesday, she removed herself from women’s team competition. On Thursday, Biles said she would not participate in the individual all-around final.
On Friday — Saturday in Tokyo — U.S.A. Gymnastics issued a statement indicating that Biles would not participate this weekend in the uneven bars or the vault, either. She will continue to be evaluated to determine her availability for her final two events, the floor exercise on Monday and balance beam on Tuesday.
Biles will be replaced in the vault by MyKayla Skinner. Suni Lee, who already qualified, will represent the U.S. on the uneven bars this weekend. But no additional American gymnasts qualified for the floor exercise or balance beam. That means if Biles does not compete, the U.S. is out of those events.
USA Gymnastics’ statement reads as follows:
Today, after further consultation with medical staff, Simone Biles has decided to withdraw from the event finals for vault and the uneven bars. She will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether to compete in the finals for floor exercise and balance beam. MyKayla Skinner, who had the fourth-highest score in vault during qualifications, will compete in vault finals for the U.S. alongside Jade Carey, who finished with the second-highest score. We remain in awe of Simone, who continues to handle this situation with courage and grace, and all of the athletes who have stepped up during these unexpected circumstances. Biles, the five-time world champion and reigning Olympic all-around champion. The result ends a decade of dominance in the event for the American team, which won gold in 2012 and 2016.
When asked about her withdrawals this week, Biles said she did so “to focus on my well-being and, you know, there is more to life than gymnastics,” she said. “It is very unfortunate that it had to happen at this stage because I definitely wanted this Olympics to go a little bit better, but we’re gonna take it one day at a time, and we’ll see how the rest goes.”
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