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Biles shock Olympic withdrawal | "There's more to life than just gymnastics"


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Simone Biles sent shockwaves around Tokyo on day four of the Olympic Games when she pulled out of the team gymnastics final.

The Team USA superstar was seen walking off the floor with her bag and a trainer after the team's first rotation on the vault, where she scored 13.766 - her lowest score on that apparatus ever at the Olympics.

Biles was originally slated to compete on the uneven bars in the second rotation but Jordan Chiles, originally sitting out on the apparatus, was subbed in.

A USA Gymnastics statement released shortly after Biles withdrew read: "Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue.

"She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions."

The USA had to make do with silver as they relinquished the title they won in Rio five years ago with the Russian Olympic Committee claiming gold and the bronze went to Great Britain.

Confusion still reigned until Biles spoke to the media in the mixed zone after the event,

"To focus on my well-being," said Biles, when asked why she had pulled out, adding, "There's more to life than just gymnastics and it is very unfortunate that it had to happen at this stage."

While she also said that she will be taking it "one day at a time" she did say that she will be back on Thursday to defend her individual all-round title at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.

Biles explained further to reporters, "Even though it’s so big, it’s the Olympic Games. But at the end of the day it’s like we want to walk out of here, not be dragged out of here on a stretcher.

"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.

"It does suck when you do feel the weight of the world and you feel like there are no outlets for the amount of training that we do. We were totally prepared, but it just sucks when you’re fighting with your own head."

The 24-year-old has overcome huge odds to achieve some of the most amazing feats in her sport while winning over 30 Olympic and World Championship medals.

US gymnastics was rocked to its core over the last decade as the sexual abuse scandal involving former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar came to light.

Biles herself an abuse survivor explained in a recent Today interview why her sport is about so much more than winning medals.

"I just feel like everything that happened, I had to come back to the sport to be a voice, to have change happen," Biles told Hoda Kotb in that interview.

"Because I feel like if there weren't a remaining survivor in the sport, they would've just brushed it to the side.

"But since I'm still here, and I have quite a social media presence and platform, they have to do something. So I feel like coming back, gymnastics just wasn't the only purpose I was supposed to do."

In Ireland the Samaritans can be contacted on Freephone 116 123 every day 24 hours a day or by emailing jo@samaritans.ie

Visit Samaritans Ireland

Alternatively, a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through mental health or emotional crisis.

Text HELLO to 50808, anytime day or night.

Visit www.text50808.ie for more information.

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