Team USA’s gymnasts lost to Russia in a dramatic team final that saw superstar Simone Biles sensationally pull out of the competition because of a ‘mental issue’ after just one event – leaving her forced to watch from the sidelines as her teammates suffered an agonizing defeat at the hands of their rivals.
The 24-year-old – who had been expected to lead the US to gold in the team event was withdrawn from the lineup after flubbing her vault in the opening minutes of the team final competition in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Shortly after the dramatic error, Simone left the stadium with her trainer and was closely followed by medical staff – sparking fears that she had sustained a serious injury. Moments later, it was announced that she had been pulled out of Team USA’s uneven bars lineup, and shortly after, it was revealed that she had been taken out of the competition altogether.
According to NBC’s commentators, Simone’s coach confirmed that the athlete had not been injured, explaining that her withdrawal from the final was the result of a ‘mental issue’; USA Gymnastics later released a statement blaming the decision on an unspecified ‘medical’ problem while noting that Simone would be ‘assessed’ before the individual finals.
‘Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,’ the statement said. ‘She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.’
The gymnastics legend qualified for all five individual event finals – the all-around, floor exercise, beam, vault, and uneven bars – and she had been hoping to add six more gold medals, including one in the team final, to her already-impressive tally of Olympic titles, however USAG’s statement indicates that this quest could well be brought to a very swift and dramatic end.