TOKYO — Simone Biles was pulled from the team competition here Tuesday after an awkward, low-scoring attempt on vault, leaving the United States, which was already locked in a tough battle with Russia, in serious trouble as it seeks its third consecutive gold medal.
Biles bailed out on her expected vault, attempting just a Yurchenko 1.5. She still needed a massive bounce/stumble upon landing.
She looked to be in tears as she left the mat and then soon walked out of the arena floor with a trainer from USA Gymnastics.
She did not appear to suffer any obvious physical injury during her attempt. NBC reported that she was dealing with a “mental issue,” not a physical one. USA Gymnastics would just describe it as a “medical issue.”
“Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. “She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”
Biles returned soon after and had her wrists wrapped as if she would compete in the next discipline, the uneven bars. However, she soon unwrapped them and put on her warm-up outfit.
USA Gymnastics announced soon after she was done for the rest of the night.
The loss of Biles leaves the Americans fighting uphill against a relentless group of Russians who bested them in qualifying and are seeking to end the United States’ 11-year win streak.
There is no immediate word on the extent of Biles’ injury or whether she can compete Thursday for the all-around title or in any of the four individual finals she qualified for.
Biles won four golds and one bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Games. She is considered the greatest gymnast of all time and expected Tokyo to be a crowning send off.
After being taken out of competition, Biles remained on the floor and continued to loudly cheer on and encourage her teammates.
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