On Tuesday, gymnastics star Simone Biles shockingly withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics team finals and left the competition after struggling to land a vault. However, Biles said that her decision was not caused by physical injury, but rather emotional.
“Physically, I feel good. I’m in shape. Emotionally, it varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being a head star isn’t an easy feat,” said Biles.
Biles further explained her mental struggle after she failed to land a vault. “After the performance that I did, I didn’t want to go into any of the other events second guessing myself, so I thought it was better if I took a step back and let these girls go out there and do the job and they did just that.”
The gymnastics star also talked about the pressure she is under. “Therapy has helped a lot as well as medicine. That’s all been going really well. Whenever you get in high-stress situations, you kind of freak out and don’t really know how to handle all of those emotions, especially at the Olympic Games.”
She continued, “This Olympic Games I wanted it to be for myself, I came in and felt like I was still doing it for other people. That just hurts my heart that doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me to please other people.”
After Biles’ withdrawal, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team won silver. The Russian Olympic Committee won gold and the British team won bronze. Biles won five medals in Rio back in 2016, and she is arguably one of the biggest names on Team USA.
On Monday, she wrote an emotional post on her Instagram saying, “I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The Olympics are no joke!”
NBC Olympics prime time host Mike Tirico said that Biles’ departure was one of the most unexpected turns for the Games, but he praised Biles’ teammates, who “with no margin for error, were able to win the silver, which is a great effort on their part.”