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Rabu, 28 Juli 2021

Tokyo Olympics 2021: Simone Biles always pushed through pain and finally said 'enough' - Wide World of Sports

When you spend the better part of a decade redefining the possible within your sport, the standards change. Good is no longer good enough. Sometimes, great isn't either.

Simone Biles received a crash course on it five years ago in Rio de Janeiro.

The American gymnastics star had already won three gold medals at the 2016 Olympics when she began her routine in the beam finals. Midway through her set, the then 19-year-old lost her balance, as tends to happen when trying to execute world-class skills on a piece of wood narrower than the average iPhone. She reached down to steady herself, preserving a bronze in the process.

She was pumped. Others weren't.

"People were really upset," Biles told The Associated Press in May. "I'm like, 'Guys it's still a medal for the country and it's still a medal for myself.' If anybody else was going to get bronze they would have been cheering but it was Simone so they were, like, pissed."

Simone Biles during women's qualification for the Artistic Gymnastics final at the Tokyo Olympics. (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Fast forward to team finals in Tokyo on Tuesday night, when the "demons" Biles has been grappling with for years proved to be too much. Spooked when she couldn't get comfortable on vault and burdened by what she described as the "weight of the world," the 24-year-old instead took herself out of competition.

"I didn't want to go out there and do something dumb and get hurt and be negligent," she said after the Americans took the silver. "So, I knew for myself that I had to take a step back."

Something that's been increasingly difficult since her return to the sport in the fall of 2017.

She made a promise to herself when she came back that she would be doing it on her terms. Her way. She spent much of the run-up to Tokyo desperately trying to hold onto that vision. She won a world championship in 2018 despite battling a kidney stone that left her in agony and became the most decorated gymnast ever with a five-medal haul in Germany a year later.

Everything was primed for a golden goodbye in Japan last August. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, pushing the Games back a full 12 months. And everything had to be recalibrated.

She fended off depression, steeling herself to go on. There was a brand to build. Sponsors to please. Fans to honour. Critics — both internal and external — to silence. Much like Olympic greats Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, the 24-year-old became a prisoner of her own excellence.

Jordan Chiles and Simone Biles of Team United States. (Getty)

To be fair, in some ways she helped build the walls. She's embraced — winkingly, most of the time — her status as the Greatest of All-Time.

It takes a special kind of swagger to compete in a leotard with a bejeweled goat you've nicknamed "Goldie." A documentary series has spent the last two years chronicling her path. The acronym for the post-Olympic Gold Over America Tour she is headlining this fall is not a coincidence.

A room overlooking the massive gym her family runs in the northern Houston suburbs turned into a TV studio over the spring. Outlets asking for a piece of her time came and went, asking her the same questions over and over again. She accommodated as many as she could. It's all part of the process.

Simone Biles of USA nearly falls during the gymnastics artistic Women's Team Final. (Getty)

Internally, however, things were shifting. Her performances during the spring competition were ... OK, at least by her standards. Yes, she drilled her Yurchenko double pike vault when she unveiled it in May. She also fell off uneven bars the same night. During the US Olympic Trials in June, she actually finished behind Olympic teammate Sunisa Lee on the final day of the competition, the first time that's happened in eight years.

Things didn't get any better in Tokyo. Biles topped qualifying as usual but an uncharacteristically messy block on her Cheng vault sent her nearly sideways off the table. She bounded all the way off the competition mat following one tumbling pass on floor. She carried so much momentum on her beam dismount she took three huge steps backward.

Something wasn't right. The doubts that have cropped up at times during her career re-emerged. And rather than brush them back, she accepted their presence. They lingered when she walked onto the floor Tuesday for the team final. Her warm-up wasn't great. Her vault was even worse, as the planned 2 1/2 twists of her Amanar became 1 1/2 instead.

Simone Biles stumbles upon landing after competing in vault during the Women's Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Getty)

This wasn't the first time she felt like this. She was a newly-minted senior elite at the US Classic in 2013. Things went badly. She fell on each of the first three events. Then coach Aimee Boorman withdrew the 16-year-old from the competition in an effort to protect her from herself.

Asked on Tuesday night if there were any similarities between that long night in Chicago, Biles laughed.

"I was dumb and stupid (back then)," she said. "I was pulled out. I wanted to go out there and compete."

She's not "dumb and stupid" anymore. As she sat down with US team doctor Marcia Faustin while waiting for her score to flash inside a stunned, fan-less Ariake Gymnastics Centre, she realised she could no longer push through as she's done so many times before. Too much was on the line both mentally and physically. For her team. And for herself.

Simone Biles of Team USA supports her teammates by carrying their chalk after pulling out of the Women's Team Final. (Getty)

A gymnast flying through the air without any idea of where she might be going is a dangerous thing. Biles bent gravity to her will so easy for so long, people forgot there's no such thing as autopilot.

She didn't. So she stopped. Right there. Right then. Who knows if it's the last time she'll be seen in a competition leotard. She withdrew from Thursday's all-around final. Next week's event finals are a mystery.

It's a decision she is ready to live with. Standing next to her teammates with a silver medal slung around her neck on Tuesday, she finally realised whether everybody else can is their problem, not hers.

USA's Jordan Chiles, Simone Biles, Grace McCallum and Sunisa Lee during the medal ceremony. (Getty)

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2021-07-28 20:04:20Z
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National Gallery of Australia to return stolen artefacts to India in its single largest repatriation of art - ABC News

The National Gallery of Australia will return another 13 artworks it purchased from dealer Subhash Kapoor after concluding many of them were likely looted or stolen in India.

It is the fourth time the NGA has handed the Indian government antiquities it bought from Mr Kapoor, who is awaiting trial after being accused of running a global smuggling ring for artefacts.

This collection is the largest yet to be repatriated by the gallery and includes six sculptures, six photographs, a painted scroll and a processional standard.

Thirteen of those items were purchased from Mr Kapoor while another was acquired from a separate dealer.

National Gallery of Australia (NGA) director Nick Mitzevich said the gallery believed six of the artworks were likely stolen or illegally removed from India.

While the gallery could not establish the provenance of another two items — and did not have any evidence the six photos were stolen — Mr Mitzevich told the ABC they would also be returned to India because the NGA had no faith in Mr Kapoor's ethics.

Portrait of a woman in India
Untitled portrait from Udaipur in Rajasthan, India. Purchased in 2009.(

Supplied: National Gallery of Australia

)

"This is another step towards us building an ethical approach to managing our collections."

The announcement means the saga which enveloped the NGA over Mr Kapoor and allegedly looted antiquities may finally be drawing to a close.

The NGA spent $10.7 million on 22 works from Mr Kapoor's "Art of the Past" gallery over several years, including a stunning 11th century Chola bronze sculpture, Shiva Nataraja, which the NGA purchased for more than $5 million in 2008.

Arch for a Jain shrine and Seated Jina
Arch for a Jain shrine and Seated Jina from the Mount Abu region in Rajasthan, India from the 11th-12th century.(

Supplied: National Gallery of Australia

)

When Indian police arrested Mr Kapoor in 2012 they listed the Dancing Shiva as one of the stolen items, and it soon became clear the sculpture had been ripped out of a temple in southern India.

The NGA insisted it had rigorously investigated the artwork's provenance, but the ABC's Four Corners revealed serious problems with the process.

Then-arts minister George Brandis also criticised the NGA's decision to purchase the sculpture, saying the gallery's decision to press ahead was "incautious".

In 2014 then-prime minister Tony Abbott handed the Dancing Shiva to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a visit to New Delhi.

Since then, the NGA has returned another five artworks it purchased from Mr Kapoor to the Indian government, including a third-century rock carving and a series of exquisite stone sculptures.

After the latest batch of 13 artworks are returned to India, the gallery will only hold three of the 22 works it has purchased from Mr Kapoor.

The NGA has removed all three items from display and said they will also be repatriated when the gallery has established where they should be returned to.

NGA 'taking responsibility' for artefacts

Mr Mitzevich said two separate reviews conducted by former High Court Justice Susan Crennan had helped the gallery develop new frameworks which would help ensure it did not purchase stolen artefacts.

A portrait of donor and priests before Shri Nathji
'Manorath' portrait of donor and priests before Shri Nathji, purchased in 2009.(

Supplied: National Gallery of Australia

)

"We are taking responsibility for works that have entered the collection," he said.

The gallery has also introduced a new approach for assessing whether it should return works with doubtful provenance, committing to returning items which are considered likely "on the balance of probability" to be stolen, illegally excavated, or unethically acquired.

"We have taken that period seriously and have made major changes to the way we acquire works," Mr Mitzevich said.

"There has been a shift. The ethical and legal collection of works of art has become a priority, both in terms of reviewing and applying very careful rigour in terms of collection and provenance."

A tenth to eleventh century statue of "the divine couple".
The divine couple: Lakshmi and Vishnu statue, from the 10th-11th century.(

Supplied: National Gallery of Australia

)

The NGA's announcement has been welcomed by India's government, which has mounted a major international push to recover thousands of antiquities which have been looted from temples and illegally sold overseas.

India's High Commissioner to Australia, Manpreet Vohra, praised the decision to return the works as "an extraordinary act of goodwill".

The gallery is still trying to recover the money it paid to Mr Kapoor.

In 2016 it was awarded damages of $11 million by a New York court.

Some lawyers say there is no guarantee the NGA will ever receive the money.

The gallery is still investigating other items in its collections to ensure none have been stolen or illegally acquired, but Mr Mitzevich said it was not yet certain if the NGA would repatriate more artworks in the future.

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2021-07-28 17:36:06Z
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Simone Biles withdraws from Tokyo Olympics gymnastics all-around competition to focus on her mental health - ABC News

Simone Biles will not defend her Olympic title in the women's gymnastics all-around program after withdrawing from the competition to focus on her mental health.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement the 24-year-old was opting to not compete.

The decision came a day after Biles removed herself from the team final following one rotation because she felt she was not mentally ready.

"After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics, in order to focus on her mental health," USA Gymnastics said.

"Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week's individual event finals."

USA Gymnastics said it "wholeheartedly" supported Biles's decision and applauded "her bravery in prioritising her wellbeing".

"Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many," USA Gymnastics said.

Biles, 24, withdrew from her team event on Tuesday evening after a single vault.

She lost herself in mid-air and completed 1 1/2 twists instead of 2 1/2. She consulted with US team doctor Marcia Faustin before walking off the field of play.

"After the performance I did, I just didn't want to go on," said Biles, who picked up her sixth Olympic medal for being part of the US squad that went on to place second behind the ROC team.

A young woman is hugged by another. They wear matching tracksuits.
Biles (left) is embraced by US coach Cecile Landi during the women's team final.(

Getty: Ezra Shaw

)

Biles was to appear in all six gymnastics event finals. And a sweep of the gold medals would have given her 10, making her the most accomplished woman Olympian in any sport.

She qualified for the finals on all four apparatuses, a feat she did not even achieve during her five-medal haul at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Biles came to Tokyo as arguably the face of the Games following the retirement of swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt.

She topped qualifying on Sunday despite piling up mandatory deductions on the vault, floor and beam following shaky dismounts.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesperson Mark Adams had said earlier on Wednesday the IOC had "huge respect and support" for Biles.

Adams said mental health remained a big issue and it was a matter the organisation had been working on for some time.

US teammate Jade Carey, who finished ninth in qualifying, will take Biles's place in the all-around.

Carey initially did not qualify because she was the third-ranking American behind Biles and Sunisa Lee.

International Gymnastics Federation rules limit countries to two athletes per event in the finals.

AP/Reuters

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2021-07-28 07:27:39Z
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Simone Biles withdraws from final individual Tokyo Olympics 2020 gymnastics event to ‘focus on mental health’ - 7NEWS.com.au

Simone Biles will not defend her all-around gold medal, withdrawing to focus on her mental health.

The 24-year-old star gymnast left the floor mid-competition with a trainer during Tuesday night’s team event, returning and hugging teammates.

Watch Biles speak on the withdrawal in the video above

She later told reporters she didn’t leave for a physical injury, but rather “a little injury to my pride”.

On Wednesday, USA Gymnastics said she had withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition.

Simone Biles, of the United States, watches gymnasts perform after she exited the team final at Tokyo 2020.
Simone Biles, of the United States, watches gymnasts perform after she exited the team final at Tokyo 2020. Credit: Ashley Landis/AP

“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health,” a spokesperson said.

“Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals.”

Jade Carey will participate in Biles’ place in the all-around event.

“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her wellbeing,” USA Gymnastics added.

“Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

Simone Biles is embraced by coach Cecile Landi.
Simone Biles is embraced by coach Cecile Landi. Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The US team finished with a silver medal in Tuesday night’s competition.

Biles, a four-time gold medallist, has recently posted on social media, saying she felt like she was “carrying the weight of the world”.

“It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it,” she wrote 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!”

Biles qualified for every event in Tokyo and, in addition to the all-around, is scheduled to contest four apparatus finals during the second week of the Games.

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2021-07-28 07:07:30Z
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Stop calling BS whenever athletes like Simone Biles cite mental health - Sydney Morning Herald

By Andrew Webster
Updated

Imagine competing in a sport in which anything less than perfection is considered failure.

Now imagine being Simone Biles: a four-time Olympic and 19-time world champion considered the best of all time. For her, perfection is the starting point and you work up from there.

She’s embraced the expectation. Cuddled it. Instagrammed it. Earlier this year, she competed in a leotard featuring the sequined outline of a goat.

It’s easy to forget the GOAT is only 24.

Where does an athlete find meaning in their life after reaching their Everest at such a tender age? I don’t actually know.

Gymnastics is an Olympic favourite among armchair viewers, but Holy Mary Lou Retton it’s brutal bordering on inhumane.

Simone Biles watches on after her shock exit from the team final.

Simone Biles watches on after her shock exit from the team final.Credit:AP

At the team all-around on Tuesday night, young girls in tight-fitting leotards and daubed in make-up flashed fake smiles that only briefly disguised their nervousness and then disappointment after putting a well-manicured toenail out of place on the landing mat.

I felt like reaching through the TV and giving them all a hug and McHappy Meal.

Why, then, have some people been so quick to call “bullshit” following Biles’ withdrawal from the team all-around and the individual all-around citing mental health issues?

This should be a line-in-the-sand moment for gymnastics; the moment when its greatest ever competitor showed she’s not a 10.

She left the arena in tears, then returned to cheer on her teammates as they took silver, then attended a media conference where she laughed and cried and then laughed again while being entirely transparent about why she had to pull back.

“I just don’t trust myself as much as I used to,” Biles told reporters. “I don’t know if it’s age, but 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...”

That’s when she began to cry.

“This Olympic Games I wanted to do it for myself, and I was still doing it for other people, so that just hurts my heart badly that doing what I love has been taken away.”

Biles has taken on so much since Rio five years ago and only a fraction of it has been about competing.

She was hounded for comment during the “Me Too” and “Black Lives Matter” revolutions. She also lined up USA Gymnastics for turning a blind eye to the actions of doctor Larry Nassar, who was exposed in the Netflix documentary Athlete A for his stomach-churning sexual abuse of gymnasts, including Biles.

She’s spoken about living with ADHD, broken a toe, passed a kidney stone, appeared on Dancing with the Stars, fallen out of love with fellow gymnast Stacey Ervin jnr and fallen in love with Houston Texans safety Johnathan Owens.

That’s a lot of life between Olympics.

She came to Tokyo armed with the Yurchenko double pike vault, which is complicated to describe let alone perform. Let’s just say it’s a blur of backward flips and twists and turns and you shouldn’t try it at home.

“The misconception is I have it all together but there are days when I just fall apart. I break down just like others.”

Simone Biles

Instead of two-and-a-half twists she decided mid-air to do one-and-a-half and landed awkwardly. That convinced Biles to pull out. On Wednesday she also withdrew from the individual all-around but she may still compete in individual events next week.

Not that long ago, sportspeople wouldn’t dare mention “mental health” as a reason for not competing. The term still elicits different opinions, mostly with scepticism.

When Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open because she felt uncomfortable in media conferences, it was called a cop-out. When Liz Cambage pulled out of the Opals while under investigation, many rolled their eyes, some like Andrew Bogut called it out.

Let’s hope people are kinder on Biles in coming days.

Anyone who chooses a life in the public eye must understand criticism and scrutiny is part of the deal. But sportspeople are allowed to struggle, even GOATs. Suffering is suffering, no matter how much money is in the bank or how perfect lives may look on social media. The outside rarely matches the inside.

“The misconception is I have it all together but there are days when I just fall apart,” Biles told Sports Illustrated earlier this year. “I break down just like others.”

The message for young women — maybe all of us — should be embraced not questioned. If Simone Biles can live with not being perfect, then maybe they can live with it, too.

Line up the tinned fruit

I wonder if the people driving those trucks along the freeway high up in the distance at the rowing on Wednesday morning knew what was happening down below on Sea Forest Waterway.

That’s where Australia’s women’s and men’s coxless fours were handing out lessons in winning gold medals.

Olympic champions Lucy Stephan, Rosemary Popa, Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre.

Olympic champions Lucy Stephan, Rosemary Popa, Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre.Credit:AP

Two new reincarnations of the Oarsome Foursome in the space of two races. Bang! Bang!

One of the original members of the Oarsome Foursome, Nick Green, became emotional in commentary box. Another member, James Tomkins, who is now an IOC member, was in the stands and presented the medals.

Now all that’s required is a television commercial spruiking canned peaches.

THE QUOTE
“This morning, I made a little tea-cosy for my medal to stop getting scratched.”

— Great Britain’s Tom Daley revealed on social media he’d knitted a little pouch for his 10m synchronised platform diving gold medal. Crazy breed, those synchro divers.

THUMBS UP
“Bloody exhausted,” Ariarne Titmus said when asked how she felt after winning the 200m freestyle. Get this girl on the front of a Weetbix box now! She’s so affable, so unaffected, so Ash Barty. Who would’ve thought: Australian sportspeople best known for what they do, not what they say.

THUMBS DOWN
Australia’s men’s sevens team flopped at these Olympics, their campaign all over with the loss to Fiji. Questions were already being asked about whether Rugby Australia should still be shelling out the cash to fund the program. This result doesn’t help.

It’s a big day six for . . .
Jess Fox, who will look to put the shattering disappointment of not winning the K1 slalom behind her and make up for it in the C1 slalom.

It’s an even bigger day six for . . .
Kyle “No Dramas” Chalmers, who lines up against the big dogs, the alpha males, of the pool in the final of the men’s 100m freestyle, in which he is defending champion.

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2021-07-28 07:05:00Z
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Simone Biles withdraws from Tokyo Olympics gymnastics all-around competition to focus on her mental health - ABC News

Simone Biles will not defend her Olympic title in the women's gymnastics all-around program after withdrawing from the competition to focus on her mental health.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement the 24-year-old was opting to not compete.

The decision came a day after Biles removed herself from the team final following one rotation because she felt she was not mentally ready.

"After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics, in order to focus on her mental health," USA Gymnastics said.

"Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week's individual event finals."

USA Gymnastics said it "wholeheartedly" supported Biles's decision and applauded "her bravery in prioritising her wellbeing".

"Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many," USA Gymnastics said.

Biles, 24, withdrew from her team event on Tuesday evening after a single vault.

She lost herself in mid-air and completed 1 1/2 twists instead of 2 1/2. She consulted with US team doctor Marcia Faustin before walking off the field of play.

"After the performance I did, I just didn't want to go on," said Biles, who picked up her sixth Olympic medal for being part of the US squad that went on to place second behind the ROC team.

A young woman is hugged by another. They wear matching tracksuits.
Biles (left) is embraced by US coach Cecile Landi during the women's team final.(

Getty: Ezra Shaw

)

Biles was to appear in all six gymnastics event finals. And a sweep of the gold medals would have given her 10, making her the most accomplished woman Olympian in any sport.

She qualified for the finals on all four apparatuses, a feat she did not even achieve during her five-medal haul at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Biles came to Tokyo as arguably the face of the Games following the retirement of swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt.

She topped qualifying on Sunday despite piling up mandatory deductions on the vault, floor and beam following shaky dismounts.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesperson Mark Adams had said earlier on Wednesday the IOC had "huge respect and support" for Biles.

Adams said mental health remained a big issue and it was a matter the organisation had been working on for some time.

US teammate Jade Carey, who finished ninth in qualifying, will take Biles's place in the all-around.

Carey initially did not qualify because she was the third-ranking American behind Biles and Sunisa Lee.

International Gymnastics Federation rules limit countries to two athletes per event in the finals.

AP/Reuters

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2021-07-28 06:38:24Z
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Selasa, 27 Juli 2021

Fans, supporters rally around Simone Biles after shock Olympic exit - ABC News

Simone Biles's exit from the gymnastics team final on Tuesday night has emerged as the biggest story from the Tokyo Olympics so far.

The American gymnast came into the Olympics as the most decorated athlete in her sport, but left the final saying she was not mentally prepared to continue after struggling on her first vault.

Afterwards she said she was not in "the right head space" to compete and that she did not want to jeopardise her team's medal chances.

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Many expressed sympathy for Biles and praised her strength as she cheered on her teammates, who went on to claim silver behind their Russian rivals.

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Biles's teammates rally

Owing to Biles's status as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, the USA went into the team final as the favourites for gold.

A young woman is hugged by another. They wear matching tracksuits.
Biles has recieved an outpouring of support after her exit from the gymnastics team final.(

Getty: Ezra Shaw

)

Their defeat to the ROC team marked the first time the USA had lost a gymnastics team final in an Olympics or a world championship since 2010.

After the event, Biles's teammates and coaches wrapped their arms around the struggling 24-year-old.

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Morgan Hurd, the USA's 2017 world all-around champion, said she was "insanely" proud of the team after winning silver.

"No-one but them knows how hard this sport is not only physically but mentally and they handled everything with grace," she tweeted.

Media grapples with mental health exit 

Editorial writers in US media rallied around Biles.

Analysis pieces weighed her status as perhaps the USA's biggest star at the Games, her career in a sport marred by widespread cultural issues, and the added burden she carries as a role model for black girls in a predominantly white sport.

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The Washington Post said Biles demonstrated greatness in stepping back, and the New York Post featured a piece on how she was helping to break down the stigma around mental health.

In Lindsay Crouse's piece in the New York Times, she said Biles's attitude had been "groundbreaking in a sport that has traditionally prized single-minded devotion above all else".

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"She is dismantling unhealthy notions of what it takes to succeed and how a female champion is allowed to look," Crouse wrote.

On Twitter, many armchair commentators were less sympathetic.

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The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) issued a statement backing Biles with "the full support and resources of our Team USA community as you navigate the journey ahead".

"Simone, you've made us so proud. Proud of who you are as a person, teammate and athlete," Sarah Hirshland, the USOPC chief executive, said.

Biles's status for the rest of the Games remains uncertain ahead of the women's all-around gymnastics final at 8:50pm AEST on Thursday.

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2021-07-28 00:43:31Z
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Tokyo Olympics: US gymnast Simone Biles confirms ‘medical issue’ as mental health after withdrawing from team final - PerthNow

Champion gymnast Simone Biles has revealed why she sensationally dropped out of the women’s team final at the Tokyo Olympics, citing mental health reasons.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist withdrew from the final last night after performing just one apparatus, the vault, and recording a disappointing score of 13.766 for team USA.

The red-hot favourites to take gold were defeated by the ROC (Russian Olympic Committee), while the Americans settled for silver and Great Britain claimed Bronze.

At the time, USA Gymnastics said in a statement Biles had withdrawn over a “medical issue” and would be assessed daily.

With concerns the 24-year-old had suffered a campaign-ending injury, Biles later offered clarification during a press conference.

“Injury, no,” Biles said. “Just a little injury to my pride.”

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Regarded as the most dominant gymnast of all time, Biles is due to compete for gold after qualifying for the final in all four individual artistic gymnastics apparatus.

She said she was unsure if she would compete in Thursday’s looming individual all-around final, saying she’s just “trying to gear up for the next test”.

Biles told journalists that she is taking some time to focus on her “well-being.”

“There is more to life than just gymnastics and it is very unfortunate that it has to happen at this stage, because I definitely wanted this Olympics to go a little better, but again take it one day at a time,” she said.

“We’re going to see how the rest goes.

“I felt like it was a little bit better to take a back seat, work on my mindfulness and I knew the girls would do an absolutely great job and I didn’t want to risk the team a medal for my kind of, ah, screw up.

“I was just shaking, could barely nap. I just never get like this going into a competition before. I tried to go out here and have fun and warm-ups in the back went a little better.

“But once I came out here, I was like ‘No, mental’s not there’ so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.”

In an Instagram post, Biles paid tribute to her Team USA teammates.

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“I’m so proud of these girls right here,” Biles said.

“You girls are incredibly brave and talented! I’ll forever be inspired by your determination to not give up and to fight through adversity!

“They stepped up when I couldn’t. thanks for being there for me and having my back! forever love y’all.”

Despite only performing one apparatus, Biles still receives a silver medal for her role in the women’s team final.

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2021-07-28 00:26:00Z
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Tokyo Olympics 2021: Simone Biles withdraws from gymnastics team final, Team USA, why did she quit, mental health issues - Fox Sports

As the dust settles on one of the biggest shocks in Olympic Games history, Simone Biles has been lauded for her courage in withdrawing from the gymnastics team final on Tuesday due to mental health concerns.

The world watched on as Biles — the undisputed greatest gymnast of all time — completed her worst-ever Olympic vault, walked straight to her trainers and told them she was done.

Team USA went on to win the silver medal with Biles’ support from the sidelines.

It was here that the four-time Olympic gold medallist — capable of skills so difficult that scorers don’t know how to mark them — is being credited for the greatest move of her career.

Biles to focus on mental health
Biles to focus on mental health | 00:36

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“Of all the GOAT things that Simone Biles has ever done, perhaps looking at the trainer and announcing that she could not continue? That might be the greatest,” wrote Amy Bass in an opinion piece for CNN.

“There would be no soldiering on. It was done. She knew it and had the strength to say it.”

Nancy Armour of USA Today credited the withdrawal as a significant moment for the awareness of mental health issues, which remain stigmatised by some.

“By withdrawing, Biles let the world know that it is OK to not be OK, and the importance of that message, the people it might touch, cannot be overstated,” Armour wrote.

“If Simone Biles can take a step back from the world’s biggest stage, when the stakes are at their highest, it might just give others the courage to speak up when they need help, too.”

Meanwhile, Alyssa Rosenberg wrote for The Washington Post that Biles’ decision involved “tremendous courage”

“This was not weakness,” Rosenberg wrote. “It may even be a spark of a very different revolution than the ones she has already taken upon herself to effectuate.”

A MOMENT WE SHOULD HAVE SEEN COMING

Biles’ decision shocked the world, but there have long been signs that a sudden exit was on the cards.

The 24-year-old has previously spoken about her battle with depression having revealed that she was among the hundreds of former US team doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse victims.

On Tuesday, she spoke openly about her ongoing battle, saying that therapy and medicine had helped — but was not enough.

“I feel like that’s all been going really well but then whenever you get in a high stress situation you kind of freak out,” Biles said. “You don’t really know how to handle all of those emotions, especially being at the Olympic Games.

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“Once I step up onto the mat it’s just me and my head, dealing with the demons in my head.”

A year ago, she spoke about her disappointment at the Tokyo Olympics being postponed, meaning she would have to expose herself to the physical toll of preparing for another 12 months.

“I haven’t decided not to do it, but I haven’t really decided to do it,” she told the Wall Street Journal at the time, suggesting she could retire before Tokyo, instead of after it.

As recently as Monday, a social media post by Biles after Team USA qualified for the finals revealed she was struggling.

“It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it,” Biles posted. “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!”

Confusion as Biles WITHDRAWS!
Confusion as Biles WITHDRAWS! | 00:29

The Telegraph’s chief sports writer Oliver Brown — in a column headlined ‘Biles’ disintegration was shocking - but we should have seen it coming’ — wrote that her post, in hindsight, was “haunting”.

“Biles had served ample warning that she was struggling with a delayed Tokyo 2020, tormented both by the infernal Covid restrictions and by the year-long assumption that she would be the one sure-fire ray of light amid the gloom,” Brown wrote.

“Such is the strain of her life, where gold is treated as a given, even when one fractionally mistimed vault can sabotage it. It is a strain that she has shown signs of finding unbearable.

“In retrospect, perhaps these hints were best heeded sooner.”

Biles’ Olympic career could yet have a final chapter — she has qualified for the women’s individual all-round final along with US teammate Suni Lee.

Biles is unsure if she will compete, saying: “We are going to take it a day at a time and we’ll see what happens.”

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2021-07-28 00:23:00Z
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