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Gymnastics: Biles says 'mental health' concerns led to Olympic final withdrawal

Gymnastics: Biles says 'mental health' concerns led to Olympic final withdrawal

Simone Biles, of United States, performs her floor exercise routine during the women's artistic gymnastic qualifications at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

TOKYO: Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles said "mental health" concerns had led to her withdrawal from the women's team final at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday (Jul 27).

"I have to do what's right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardise my health and my wellbeing," the 24-year-old American said after her team were beaten by the Russian quartet in her absence.

Biles had been leading the US' defence of their women's gymnastics team title, and was looking to add to her haul of four gold medals won at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Biles exited the final at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre after a lacklustre opening vault and walked off the competition floor before returning a short time later.

The US team immediately withdrew her from the rest of the final.

READ: Gymnastics: Simone Biles out of team event as Russians beat US to Olympic gold  

After she joined her teammates to collect their silver medals, four-time Olympic champion Biles confirmed she had not been injured.

She said: "I just don't trust myself as much as I used to, and I don't know if it's age. I'm a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics.

"I feel like I'm also not having as much fun, and I know that this Olympic Games, I wanted it to be for myself," she said, as she began to cry.

"It just sucks that it happens here at the Olympics Games ... with the year that it's been, I'm really not surprised the way it played out."

If Biles is unable to continue in Tokyo, it would mark a stunning turn of events at a Games she had been strongly expected to dominate.

She had been bidding to become the first woman in more than half a century to retain the all-around title, and had a realistic chance of equalling Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's record of nine Olympic gold medals.

Catch the Olympics Games Tokyo 2020 LIVE with 14 dedicated channels on meWATCH. Sign in now at mewatch.sg/tokyo2020 and get into the action with Mediacorp, Singapore’s Olympics Network.

Source: AFP/vc

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