Simone Biles Withdraws From Individual All-Around Final at Tokyo Olympics to 'Focus On Mental Health'

The 24-year-old gymnast will not defend her all-around Olympic gold medal at Thursday's event in Tokyo.

Simone Biles will not participate in Thursday's individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics as she continues to focus on her mental health, USA Gymnastics confirmed Wednesday.

In a statement posted to their Twitter account, USA Gymnastics said Wednesday that the organization "wholeheartedly" supports Biles, one day after the 24-year-old gymnast withdrew from the gymnastics team final.

"After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health. Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week's individual event finals. Jade Carey, who had the ninth-highest score in qualifications, will participate in her place in the all-around," said USA Gymnastics 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," the organization continued.

Biles, who won the all-around gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, has seen an outpouring of support from celebrities following Tuesday's decision to withdraw from the team final, including touching messages from her teammates — and newly minted silver medalists — Grace McCallum, Sunisa (Suni) Lee, and Jordan Chiles. (

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"To my best friend, just thinking about everything we have gone through together from us getting mad at each other for no reason to laughing at jokes, to bringing the love of this sport back to me with your help words can't explain how proud I am of you," shared Chiles on her Instagram account Wednesday. "I LOVE YOU and am literally crying just thinking about everything. WE did this together."

Chiles also appeared on the TODAY Show on Wednesday with teammate McCallum, where the two gymnasts spoke about Biles. "All I know is, I'm going to support her no matter what. I am her teammate, I am her best friend, like she said, this is the moment that I think that I truly realized I [had] gotten so much closer to her than I really thought," said 21-year-old Chiles.

Biles herself took to Instagram on Tuesday to celebrate her teammates, stating how "proud" she is of Chiles, McCallum, and Lee, who "stepped up when [she] couldn't." "Thanks for being there for me and having my back! Forever love y'all," wrote Biles on Intsagram.

Although it remains to be seen if Biles will compete in next week's event finals, the six-time medalist has the support of former Olympic champions Aly Raisman and Michael Phelps, both of whom have been open about the mental strain the events can have on athletes. "I think athletes and Olympic athletes in general, I mean, talking about weight of gold. We need someone who we can trust," said Phelps to NBC' Mike Tirico on Tuesday, according to the New York Post. "Somebody that can let us be ourselves and listen. Allow us to become vulnerable, somebody who's not going to try and fix us. You know, we carry a lot of things, a lot of weight on our shoulders. 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. So it broke my heart."

Raisman, who retired from gymnastics in 2020, posted a touching message Tuesday to Biles on Instagram, writing: "Wish I could give you the biggest high. Sending you all the love & support."

Natasia Liukin, a former Olympic gymnast, also said Tuesday on NBC that she believes Biles "did the right thing." "She really wanted to focus on the team, and I think when you actually take a look at what happened on that vault, she got lost," said Liukin. "Any gymnast knows, we call it the 'twisties,' and she basically was supposed to do a whole other rotation and got completely lost in the air. It's a mental kind of error, essentially, that every single gymnast goes through."

Biles' decision to put her mental well-being above all else continues to show that she will forever be heralded as the greatest of all time, long after her Olympics journey comes to an end.

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