Simone Biles’ Withdrawal From Team Final Sparks Conversation On Mental Health

Jul 27, 2021, 11:25 PM

Simone Biles...

(L-R) Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Simone Biles and Sunisa Lee of Team United States look on during the Women's Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

TOKYO — There were some stunning moments in Tokyo Tuesday as Simone Biles withdrew from the gymnastics team competition for mental health reasons.

Athlete mental health has been a big focus at these Olympic Games, and it’s important to realize just how much is at stake in a sport like gymnastics, when your mind isn’t where you want it to be.

“I’m like, ‘Don’t bail, you’ll literally die, like you will break something,” Biles said laughing.

While Biles can joke about the dangers of her otherworldly skills, the risks are real.

A split-second hesitation or a mid-air mixup could mean a major injury. And it seems that possibility played a role in Biles’ difficult decision Tuesday.

“I didn’t want to do something silly out there and get injured,” she said.

We were all stunned when Biles performed just one vault before withdrawing from the team competition.

She knew at that moment she was hurting the team and could hurt herself, so a difficult decision had to be made.

“I didn’t want to risk the team a medal for my screwups,” said Biles.

Teammates Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum stepped in to take her spot, some having no time to warm up their routines.

“I’m sorry. I love you guys, but you’re gonna be just fine,” said Biles.

“We all just had to put our minds into a great position,” said Chiles.

Biles returned to the floor to cheer on her teammates through the rest of the rotations.

Team USA finished second, behind the Russian Olympic Committee team.

“It’s really hard to lose the best in the world, but I’m really proud of how we did,” said McCallum.

While Biles has received both criticism and support, her decision has sparked a conversation about mental health.

“Simone Biles is human and every single athlete, no matter how successful they are, every single athlete has good days and bad days,” said two-time Olympian and former USA gymnast Aly Raisman.

Biles did more than stun the world with her withdrawal — she sent a message that many say has been a long time coming.

“It’s OK sometimes to sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself,” said Biles. “It shows how strong a person and competitor you really are, rather than just battle through it.”

KSL Olympics


Kyle Ireland

Olympian Carissa Moore Reflects On Tokyo Gold, Hopes To Inspire Youth

Team USA's Carissa Moore reflected on winning a gold medal in Tokyo 2020 and how she hopes to impact young girls in the world.

2 days ago

Ryan Murphy 2024 Paris Olympics Swimming...

Chandler Holt

American Swimmer Ryan Murphy Credits Family For Success In Olympic Journey

Ryan Murphy has won four Olympic gold medals but he couldn't have reached the pinnacle of the swimming world without his family by his side.

3 days ago


Brian Preece

Olympic Athletes Look Forward To Families Being Back In Stands

For 500 U.S. Olympians of varying ages, family ranges from parents, siblings, and spouses to children for others. 

5 days ago

core hydration classic...

Associated Press

Simone Biles Shines, Gabby Douglas Scratches After Shaky Start At U.S. Classic

Simone Biles certainly looks ready for Paris with more than two months to go before the Olympic games begin.

6 days ago

a'ja wilson...

Brian Preece

Consummate Winner A’ja Wilson Prepares To Lead USA Women’s Basketball In Paris

Winning has become synonymous with A'ja Wilson as championships and personal accolades have followed the basketball star since high school.

7 days ago

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 25: Simone Biles of Team United States competes on balance beam during Women's ...

WILL GRAVES AP National Writer

Simone Biles Better Prepared For Stepping Into The Olympic Spotlight

Simone Biles is not "cured." Let's start there. A cure implies finality. An ultimate and decisive victory.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Simone Biles’ Withdrawal From Team Final Sparks Conversation On Mental Health