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OLYMPIC GAMES | GYMNASTICS

Tokyo 2021: Why does Jennifer Gadirova substitute Simone Biles and not an US gymnast?

Biles' withdrawal from the fifth event, left her with just one chance to medal in Tokyo. Jennifer Gadirova of Great Britain will be the woman to replace Biles in Monday's final.

Update:
Jennifer Gadirova of Team Great Britain competes in the floor exercise during the Women's All-Around Final on day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Jamie SquireGetty Images

One of the most remarkable stories of this summer’s Olympics have been Simone Biles’ withdrawal due to to mental health. Having withdrawn from five competitions so far, she’s just left with one more chance to achieve a medal at the Tokyo Olympics. However, Biles participation on balance beam next week is still being evaluated by experts.

Who will replace Simone Biles?

Mykayla Skinner and Jade Carey are the other gymnasts who represent US in the individual finals. Having Skinner replaced Biles in the vault final and Carey on the all-around event, they have both already had a chance to substitute the GOAT in the competition. However, they were not allowed to replace her in the rest of individual competitions due to the scores they got during the qualifying round.

In this case, British Jennifer Gadirova was the first designated replacement in the floor exercise final, while if Biles withdrawal from the balance beam final was made public, Japanese Urara Ashikawa will be the woman to take her spot.

Why are US Gymnasts not substituting Biles?

According to the International Gymnastics Federation, in charge of setting the rules for Olympic Games, alternates can only replace sick or injured contestants 24 h prior to the qualification events. As none of the US alternates participated in the qualifying rounds they are all back home.

Screenshot of Simone Biles' Instagram stories explaining why alternates were not allowed to take her spot.
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Screenshot of Simone Biles' Instagram stories explaining why alternates were not allowed to take her spot.Simone BilesInstagram

Nevertheless, the two individual US competitors Skinner and Carey could have replaced her if they scored high enough to beat the result of the first gymnast in reserve, or what is the same, make it into the top 8 on the qualifying rounds for that event.

As they didn’t manage to qualify for the other 3 events, uneven bars, floor exercise and balance beam, French Melanie de Jesus dos Santos, British Jennifer Gadirova and Japanese Urara Ashiwaka are the next in line to represent Biles in the events.

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