Simone Biles, 24, faced a crushing defeat at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics women’s gymnastics’ finals Tuesday as she stepped away from the competition early because of a “medical issue.” Fans were quick to remind the world this is merely a blip in the celebrated gymnast’s outstanding career.
The Olympic medalist left the competition after struggling to stick her landing on vault during Team USA’s first event of the night. Once Biles was out of the competition, the team representing the Russia Olympic Committee took gold and Team USA placed for silver.
The reaction from Biles’ teammates and fans? Love and support. After all, achieving a total of six Olympic medals, one in Tokyo and five from the Rio Olympics, is no easy feat.
“This is a team of four, not a team of one,” former Team USA teammate Laurie Hernandez said on the “Today” show as a commentator. “You never want to have this thought of piggybacking off of her; that’s too much pressure, and nobody can handle that.”
Gymnast Morgan Hurd, the 2017 World all-around champion, tweeted she was “so insanely proud of this team. no one but them knows how hard this sport is not only physically but mentally and they handled everything with grace. couldn’t be more proud, love you guys.”
Biles has one of the most memorable timelines in gymnastic history, becoming the most decorated World Champion gymnast and having a difficult flip named after her.
The mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, declared Aug. 24, 2016, “Simone Biles Day” after she returned home from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio where she won four gold medals and one bronze.
In 2018, Biles became the first American to medal at every event during at the gymnastics World Championships.
Biles made history again in 2019 at the World Championship after nailing a triple-double, which is now named after her.
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In light of all of her accomplishments, Twitter users reminded the world she will always be “the GOAT,” or greatest of all time. “Today” anchor Hoda Kotb called Biles “a class act” who “already won.”
Biles continued to support her teammates as they competed in the other events before winning second place behind the ROC.
After the competition, Biles said she withdrew after second-guessing herself and wanted to take a step back.
“Whenever you get in high-stress situations, you kind of freak out and don’t really know how to handle all of those emotions especially at the Olympic Games,” Biles said. “I have to do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health.”
The Olympian said she would take a break Wednesday before deciding whether to compete in the all-around competition Thursday.
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Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: [email protected]