Simone Biles speaks about pulling out of team event: 'I took a step back'

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 27: Simone Biles of Team United States looks on during the Women's Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 27: Simone Biles of Team United States looks on during the Women's Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The four-time Olympic champion left the field of play after a botched vault and did not return to competition. 'A lot of different variables,' went into withdrawal, she says.

The women's artistic gymnastics team final at the Olympics Games Tokyo 2020 had unexpected twists and turns on Tuesday (27 July), as Simone Biles scratched from the final after a botched effort on her opening apparatus - the vault.

Just moments after marching out on the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Biles had a scary warm-up vault. After blocking off the vaulting table, the 24-year-old appeared to get lost in the air, opening out after doing just one-and-a-half of her planned two-and-a-half twists.

The same error occurred in competition, as Biles, the reigning Olympic champion on the event, scored just 13.733.

"No injury thankfully. That's why I took step back, because I didn't want to do something silly out there and get injured," Biles said after competition, where USA went on to finish second behind ROC.

Biles withdrew following the vault and after consulting with team leaders and on-site medical staff.

She continued: "So I thought it was best if these girls took over and did the rest of the job which they absolutely did. They are Olympic silver medalists now, and they should be really proud of themselves for how well they did last minute, having to go in."

"It's been really stressful this Olympic Games. I think just as a whole, not having an audience, there are lot of different variables going into it, it's been a long week, it's been a long Olympic process, it's been a long year," she continued. "So, just a lot of different variables."

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Simone Biles: I was 'second-guessing' myself

Biles said that she and Team USA worked out in the morning. But during the five plus hours between training and competition, Biles says stress set in.

"We had a workout this morning. It went OK and then just that five-and-a-half hour wait, I was just shaking and could barely nap," she explained "I've just never felt like this going into a competition before and I tried to go out here and have fun. Warmup in the back went a little bit better but then once I came out here I was like no, mental is not there so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.

"I didn’t want to go into any of the other events second-guessing myself,” Biles said. “So, I thought it would be better if I took a step back and let these girls go out there and do their job.”

After vault, Biles sat on the sideline talking with coach Cecile Landi and the USA Gymnastics athletic trainer. Their discussion ended with Biles and the trainer leaving the field of play together. By the time they returned, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum and Sunisa Lee were already in their one touch warm-up, signalling it was unlikely Biles would participate.

Minutes later USA Gymnastics confirmed the withdraw and official event start lists were updated to reflect the change.

"Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions," read a statement from the governing body.

Biles also told reporters that her focus would now shift to the individual events, saying "I'm just dealing with a few things."