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Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles has been pulled out of the team final because of a ‘mental issue’ after just one event following a shock error on vault that resulted in her lowest score in years – days after she spoke out about her struggle to deal with the pressure of the Olympics.
The 24-year-old – who had been expected to lead the US to gold in the team event – was withdrawn from the lineup after flubbing her vault in the opening minutes of the team final competition in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Shortly after the dramatic error, Simone left the stadium with her trainer and was closely followed by medical staff – sparking fears that she had sustained a serious injury.
Moments later, it was announced that she had been pulled out of Team USA’s uneven bars lineup, and shortly after, it was revealed that she had been taken out of the competition altogether.
Her coach confirmed to reporters on the ground that the athlete has not been injured, explaining that she had been withdrawal from the final was the result of a ‘mental issue’.
Simone, who made history earlier this year when she became the first-ever female gymnast to perform the incredibly risky and complicated Yurchenko double pike vault, stunned spectators when she made a very uncharacteristic error in the team final, bailing out of the skill she had planned to do while in mid-air.
The gymnastics GOAT was supposed to execute a Yurchenko vault with two-and-a-half twists, but bailed out at the last second and only performed one-and-a-half twists, resulting in a much lower starting score.
Simone Biles has been pulled out of the team final after just one event following a shock error on vault that resulted in her lowest score in years
The 24-year-old – who had been expected to lead the US to gold in the team event – was withdrawn from the lineup after flubbing her vault in the opening minutes of the team final competition in Tokyo on Tuesday
To add insult to injury, Simone’s knees then buckled on the landing, propelling her towards the mat – although she narrowly avoided falling to the ground.
Her resulting score – 13.766 – is the lowest she has received in years.
Simone returned to the stadium as the dramatic news of her withdrawal was shared, and she is now taking on the role of cheerleader, standing alongside her teammates – Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, and Grace McCallum – providing support as they compete the final three events without her.
The shock error and remarkable decision to pull Simone out of the competition comes just days after the athlete opened up about her struggle to cope with the pressure of this year’s Olympics.
Following the team qualifiers – during which the US put on a very lackluster performance that saw them qualifying in second place, while Russia finished in first – Simone took to Instagram to share her upset over her performance, while revealing that she ‘feels like she has the weight of the world on her shoulders’.
In qualifying for the finals, the U.S. team of gold-medal hopefuls were beaten into second place by Russia with Simone and teammates uncharacteristically faulting during their disciplines.
‘Now to prepare for finals. It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it,’ Simone admitted on Instagram.
‘I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times.
‘I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke!’
Simone’s withdrawal from the competition has seriously damaged the US’s chances of earning gold in the team final, with Russia’s athletes surging ahead in the wake of the gymnastics GOAT’s exit.
The decision to pull her out of the final has also left the US with just three athletes, Suni, Jordan, and Grace, meaning that they will all have to compete on every event. Initially, only Simone and Grace had been expected to take part in the all-around – meaning that they were the only two gymnasts who would have competed on all four events.
As well as the added pressure on Team USA’s other three athletes, the squad’s overall score will also take a huge hit; Simone’s routines on all four events are among those with the highest potential points, particularly when it comes to the vault, beam, and floor exercise.
As her team mates performed on the balance beam , Simone stood by applauding.
She hugged Grace as she stepped off the beam, having taken her place in the lineup.
Despite the devastating result of her personal performance in the final, Simone made heroic efforts to keep her spirits up, and was seen joking and laughing with teammate and fellow Texan Jordan – showing no clear sign of any injury or pain.
Despite the event being about the gymnastics, the TV cameras focused heavily on the injured star