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Tokyo Olympics: Defending champion Simone Biles withdraws from all-around competition ‘to prioritise wellbeing’

·2-min read

Watch: Simone Biles withdraws from individual all-around

Simone Biles will not defend her Olympic all-around gymnastics title on Thursday, pulling out of the competition to focus on her mental health. 

On Tuesday night, Biles shocked the world when she withdrew from the women’s team final after performing on just one piece of apparatus. 

In a series of emotional interviews afterwards, the American spoke of having the “weight of the world” on her shoulders and admitted she “freaked out” in a “high stress situation”. 

“I feel like I'm also not having as much fun,” she added, breaking into tears. “This Olympic Games I wanted it to be for myself but I came in and I felt like I was still doing it for other people. It hurts my heart that doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me to please other people.”

Biles had qualified for all five individual finals at these Games but said she would consider her participation on a day-by-day basis and has now formally withdrawn from the first of them. 

Watch: The best and worst Olympics logos over the years

“After further medical evaluation Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health,” a statement from USA Gymnastics said. 

“Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals. Jade Carey, who had the ninth-highest score in qualifications, will participate in her place in the all-around. 

“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

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