TOKYO — Simone Biles will not defend her all-around gold medal, USA Gymnastics confirmed Wednesday morning.
The 24-year-old superstar has pulled out of the individual competition at the Tokyo Olympics to focus on her mental health, her team 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 in a statement.
“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”
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Jade Carey, who had the ninth highest score in qualifications, will now take Biles' place in the all-around.
A four-time Olympic gold medalist, Biles shocked the Olympic world Tuesday when she suddenly withdrew during the team gymnastics final.
Biles said the emotional toll of the Tokyo Games, not a physical injury, prompted her exit.
"Physically, I feel good," she told Hoda Kotb on NBC's "TODAY" show after she withdrew. "Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star of the Olympics isn't an easy feat. So we're just trying to take it one day at a time, and we'll see."
Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, who has been candid about his own struggles with depression, said Wednesday he knows how Biles feels.
"We carry a lot of things, a lot of weight on our shoulders," he said in an interview with NBC sportscaster Mike Tirico. "And it's challenging, especially when we have the lights on us and all of these expectations that are being thrown on top of us."
Later, in a meeting with NBC News reporters, two of Biles' teammates, Grace McCallum and Jordan Chiles, voiced support for their teammate and said they're soldiering on.
"It's been a crazy, crazy ride," said Chiles, noting that they've had to train through a pandemic and they're competing at venues where there's nobody cheering them on because there is a state of emergency in Tokyo and no fans are allowed in the stands.
Asked how she's coping with the stress, Chiles answered "online shopping."
"I'm a sneakerhead," she said.
Corky Siemaszko reported from Tokyo, Jamie Knodel reported from Kansas City