By Kaia Zimmerman
The 2020 Olympics have been filled with unexpected turns, but the biggest shock of all came Tuesday morning when Simone Biles withdrew from the gymnastic team finals competition.
After Biles completed vault, she left the team finals competition at the time with an “apparent injury.” Biles would later announce that it wasn’t a physical injury forcing her to leave the competition but her mental health.
In her vault, Biles attempted a 2 ½ Yurchenko, but instead she missed a full rotation and completed a 1 ½ Yurchenko, an unusual mistake for her. After the faulty vault, she made the decision to withdraw because she believed if she wasn’t fully focused, one wrong move could seriously injure her, and she needed to put her mental health first.
“I took a step back because I didn’t want to do something silly out there, and get injured,” Biles said to reporters.
She would later go on to say, “I’ve never felt this way going into a competition before, and I tried to go out there and have fun, and warm up in the back went a little better, but once I (went) out (there), I was like, ‘No. Mental is not there, so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.’”
She would later return to the competition not as a competitor and instead as a fan on the sidelines, cheering on her teammates.
Even without Biles competing, the rest of Team USA was able to step up and clinch the silver medal in the women’s artistic team final.
“In that moment, we knew we all had to come together as a team,” said U.S. Olympic gymnast Sunisa Lee. “We needed to fill that leadership up together because we didn’t have Simone in that moment… I am really proud of all of us because we ended up doing what we needed to do.”
A lot of people were shocked by Biles’ decision and some fans were even angry at her departure, saying she left her team and was being selfish, but Biles also received a ton of praise for her decision to put her mental health over a medal.
“It’s so much pressure,” said Aly Raisman, gold medalist and former teammate of Biles, in an interview with ESPN. “It’s the most pressure I’ve ever seen on a gymnast and maybe even an Olympic athlete, and I can’t imagine how hard it is for her. I am very proud of Simone, and I can’t imagine the bravery it takes to just say ‘I’m not going to do it today.’”
Biles, a favorite to win gold, has been put under a lot of pressure from the whole world when she was given the deserving title of “the GOAT” (the greatest of all time). Going into the games, it seemed no one could come close to Biles, and that she was going to win gold, putting more pressure on her to succeed.
The women’s gymnastics artistic individual all-around final will take place on Thursday, July 29. The event finals will start on Sunday, Aug. 1.
In other shocking news, Japan’s Naomi Osaka had her Olympic run cut short when she lost in the third round to the Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova, in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4.
The United States women’s National soccer team (USWNT) and Australia finished in a 0-0 draw on Tuesday, July 27. Their next match will be the quarterfinals where they will face off against the Netherlands on July 30, starting at 7 a.m.
The United States softball team took the silver medal, losing in the championship game to Japan, who took gold, 2-0. Canada took the bronze medal, beating Mexico 3-2.
To add on to the U.S. success, United States’ Carissa Moore won gold in women’s shortboard as well as 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby securing gold in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke. U.S. divers, Jessica Parratto and Delaney Schnell took the silver medal in synchronized 10-meter platform. The U.S. also won silver in mixed team 10-meter air rifle shooting, silver in team dressage, bronze in the women’s triathlon, and bronze in the men’s 100-meter backstroke.
The U.S. women’s basketball team won against Nigeria, 81-72, in the first round, securing their 50th straight Olympic win.
As of July 27, Japan is leading in total gold medals with 10 to the United States’ nine. The United States is leading in total medals with 25. China is in second with 21.
You can find more Olympics news here.