Tokyo Olympics 2020: Simone Biles’ withdrawal sparks mental health fears

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American Simone Biles, the biggest name in world of gymnastics, was caused quite a stir by withdrawing from the team event final following an error on vault which led to a low score - sparking off speculation of mental health issues.

The USA team competed with only three gymnasts in the final and finished second to the team from Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). “Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,” said a statement from USA Gymnastics on Tuesday.

“She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions,” added USA Gymnastics in the statement, which contradicts with NBC announcer John Roethlisberger’s comment during the telecast that network personnel had been told by a team coach or coaches that Biles’ issues were mental rather than physical.

The 24-year-old, winner of four gold medals in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, was supposed to execute a Yurchenko vault with two-and-a-half twists, but could perform only one-and-a-half twists. Her knees buckled on the landing although she avoided falling on the ground.

Her score of 13.766 is among the lowest she has got in years.

While a clearer picture may emerge over the next few days, there are media reports of the the 24-year-old diva of gymnastics suffering from a performance anxiety.

Biles recently spoke about feeling intense pressure to succeed here, and she has figured prominently in NBC’s promotions of the Tokyo Games. She also has said she is still dealing with trust issues regarding USA Gymnastics after having been sexually abused by former national team doctor Lawrence Nassar, who abused hundreds of women and girls before he was sentenced to prison.

Biles stayed on the floor with the team and after the competition was seen talking to Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, before the medal ceremony.

- With inputs from agencies

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