TOKYO — U.S. gymnastics superstar Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final floor event, USA Gymnastics said Sunday.
“Simone has withdrawn from the event final for floor and will make a decision on beam later this week,” the organization said in a tweet. “Either way, we’re all behind you, Simone.”
It is the latest unexpected turn in an Olympic Games that was supposed to be a showcase for Biles and which has thrust the four-time gold medalist headlong into the conversation about mental health and athletics.
And it came a day after Biles withdrew from the uneven bars and vault finals. The balance beam competition is Tuesday.
Biles, who came into the Games as the heavy favorite, has cited her mental health as the reason for withdrawing from the competitions.
“For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync as you can see here,” Biles wrote Friday in an Instagram post. “I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health.”
Biles addedthat she was still suffering with “the twisties” and “literally can not tell up from down.”
The first inkling that Biles was struggling came on Tuesday when she shocked the Olympic world by suddenly withdrawing from the team final. Then, the 2016 gold medalist pulled out of the individual all-around competition.
Biles has received widespread support from other athletes, including U.S. Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, who has been open about his battle with depression.
“It broke my heart,” Phelps said of Biles’ shocking announcement, adding that he hopes her withdrawal from the event will make waves beyond this year’s Games.
“I hope this is an eye-opening experience, I really do,” Phelps said. “I hope this is an opportunity for us to jump on board, and to even blow this mental health thing even more wide open. It is so much bigger than we can ever imagine.”