OLYMPICS | GYMNASTICS

Is Simone Biles out of the Olympics? Will she compete in the individual events?

Simone Biles shocked the world when she dropped out of the Team Final and said that she would skip the All-Around event scheduled for Thursday.

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Is Simone Biles out of the Olympics? Will she compete in the individual events?
MIKE BLAKE REUTERS

Team USA fans woke up to shocking news this morning: the Olympic superstar Simone Biles had dropped out of the Team Final at the Tokyo Games.

Biles, a World Champion and Rio 2016 Gold Medal Winner, has been referred to as the greatest gymnast of all time. The pressure and her own mental health struggles led her to withdraw from the Team Final on Tuesday 27 July.

Biles has also stated that she will not participate in the Women's All-Around which is scheduled for 29 July.

Will she compete again?

While Biles had initially indicated that she would return for the remaining events but has now stated that she will not compete in the Women's All-Around on Thursday 28 July.

The 24-year-old has yet to confirm whether she will also skip the individual events which are slated for next week.

Remaining Women's Artistic Gymnastics Events (Tokyo 2020)

Thurday 29 July, 2021: Women's All-Around Final

Sunday 1 August, 2021: Women's Uneven Bars Final & Women's Vault Final

Monday 2 August, 2021: Women's Floor Exercise Final

Tuedsay 3 August, 2021: Women's Balance Beam Final

In an interview with the team following their silver medal victory, Biles was asked if she would be returning and responded that she, her coaches, and teammates would be "taking it one day at a time.

After the announcement, USA Gymnastics tweeted that Biles "will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions."

Biles opens up about her struggles with mental illness

Earlier this week, Biles had taken to social media to express her feelings over the pressure she felt.

In an Instagram post, the gymnast wrote, “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 is no joke! BUT I’m happy my family was able to be with me virtually, they mean the world to me.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles)

As Team USA took to the vault at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, her teammates and fans watching from around the world were stunned when she disappeared backstage after the first round. Shortly after, she returned to her teammates to tell them that she would be stepping down from the team event.

In an interview shortly after she made the decision, she said: “I felt like it would be a little better to take a back seat, and work on my mindfulness.” going on to say that she “didn’t want the team to risk a medal because of my screw-up.

Biles described how after her warmup, she felt okay, but that the five and a half hour wait rattled her nerves, saying, "I was shaking, and barely napped."

The gymnast known for her calm demeanor said that she had "never felt like this going into a competition before," and that after she "tried to go out, have fun and after warming up in the back I felt a little better, but once I came out here, I felt, no, the mental is not there."

Biles made it clear that she wanted to "let the girls do it and focus on myself.” While a clear loss for the fellow Team USA members, the superstar posted to Instagram thanking them for their compassion and understanding.

USA Gymnastics and the Larry Nassar abuse scandal

In recent years, Biles has opened up about her struggles with depression and anxiety.

After the competition ended for the day, the Rio veteran held back tears as she told reporters "This Olympic Games, I wanted it to be for myself. But I was still doing it for other people." Biles continued on articulating how her anxiety and discomfort stem from years of manipulation, saying "it hurts my heart that doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me to please other people." Her comments allude to the pain she has felt due to the failed leadership of USA Gymnastics, the organization responsible for protecting and advocating for the nation's best gymnasts.

Biles has been a vocal critic of the USA Gymnastics in the wake of the Larry Nassar  absue scandal. Nassar, the disgraced team doctor, was convicted of sexually assaulting over 150 female athletes, many of whom were children at the time of the assault. Simone Biles and many other 2016 Team USA gold medalists were victims of Nassar's. She and many other gymnasts who have bore the stars and stripes at international competitions, blame the organization for their inaction in removing Nassar after assaulting athletes for more than two decades.

Before the Olympics began, the young athlete told NBC’s Hoda Kotb that these games were a chance for her to represent all those who survived Larry Nassar, saying, "I had to come back to the sport to be a voice, to have change happen."

In her interview, Biles stated that she feels like “if there weren't a remaining survivor in the sport, they would've just brushed it to the side. But since I'm still here, and I have quite a social media presence and platform, they have to do something."

Biles, along with many other victims, have called on USA Gymnastics to conduct an independent investigation. To date, no such investigation has been announced.

In the coming days, we are sure to hear more from Simone Biles over her choice to return to the Games or cheer her teammates on from the sidelines.