Absolute GOAT Simone Biles has pulled out of the team gymnastics final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, according to the New York Times. While it’s unclear exactly what happened, NBC News reports Simone experienced a medical issue.
According to the Times, Simone left the floor after a vault on Tuesday. She was meant to attempt a Yurchenko with 2½ twists on the vault, but seemingly pulled back and only did 1 ½ twists. The AP reports Simone left the podium after her vault, and walked out of the area with the team doctor. When she returned and rejoined her team, she removed the grips she would wear to compete in the uneven bars and put on a white Team USA sweatsuit.
It’s unclear whether Simone will compete in the individual competition going forward, but NBC reports she will be assessed daily.
Former teammate Aly Raisman said she felt sick to her stomach about Simone’s exit.
“It’s horrible,” the Olympian said on NBC’s coverage of the Games. “I know all of these athletes dream of this moment for their whole entire lives and so I’m completely devastated. I’m obviously so worried and just hoping that Simone is OK. I also am thinking about the mental impact that this has to have on Simone. It’s just so much pressure.”
Simone made her Olympic debut in 2016, racking up five medals, including four golds. She is considered the best gymnast of all time, becoming essentially unbeatable. Just prior to arriving at the Olympics, Simone debuted a skill on the vault so dangerous and gravity-defying that she was the first woman to ever even attempt it. On May 23 at the U.S. Classic, she made history by completing a Yurchenko double pike. Despite the incredible feat, judges only gave Simone a 6.6 for her efforts — a score Simone felt was to discourage her from attempting skills other gymnasts won’t be able to compete with.
“They don’t want the field to be too far apart. And that’s just something that’s on them. That’s not on me,” said Biles. “They had an open-ended code of points and now they’re mad that people are too far ahead and excelling.”
Still, Raisman sent an important reminder that her former teammate, despite her incredible prowess, is human.
“Sometimes people forget Simone is human. She has pains like all of us, stress like all of us,” Raisman said. “Simone has more pressure than any other gymnast I’ve seen in my lifetime.”
The gymnast’s exit from Tokyo 2020 certainly comes as a shock given her expected dominance at the Games. Still, Simone is cheering on her teammates from the sidelines. Her presence at the Olympics and in the sport in general is something that’s important to Simone. In an interview with the Today Show in April, Simone said part of the reason she stuck with the sport through the 2020 Olympics was that she wanted to represent her fellow survivors. Simone has been open about being one of the many who was sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
“Everything that happened, I had to come back to the sport to be a voice, to have change happen,” she said. “I feel like if there weren’t a remaining survivor in the sport they would have just brushed it to the side. Since I’m here…they have to do something.”
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Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Simone Biles Makes History as First Woman to Ever Land Yurchenko Double Pike: “Because I Can”