Olympic gymnast Simone Biles will not compete in the individual all-around finals at the Tokyo Olympics after withdrawing from the team finals Tuesday in order to focus on her mental health. Jade Carey, who had the ninth-highest score in qualifications, will compete in the individual all-around in Biles' place. "After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health," USA Gymnastics said in a statement Wednesday.
"Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week's individual event finals," the team continued. "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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Biles, 24, stepped down from the team final Tuesday after participating in just the vault, where she scrapped her plans for an Amanar vault for a simpler 1.5 twist, landing the lowest score of her career at 13.766. Despite the last-minute team change, the U.S. women's gymnastics team would go on to win silver in the finals after battling it out for gold with Russia.
Biles told TODAY's Hoda Kotb of her decision to step down, "Physically, I feel good, I'm in shape. Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and the moment, you know, coming here to the Olympics and being the head star of the Olympics is not an easy feat. So, we're just trying to take it one day at a time, and we'll see."
The athlete, widely regarded as the greatest female gymnast of all time, shared on Instagram after the prelims, "It wasn't an easy day or my best but I got through it. I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn't affect me but damn sometimes it's hard hahaha! The olympics is no joke!"
Following her decision to step down, Biles was seen cheering on her team from the sidelines, showing her love for them on Instagram after their silver win. "I'm SO proud of these girls right here. You girls are incredibly brave & talented!" she wrote alongside a team photo. "I'll forever be inspired by your determination to not give up and to fight through adversity! They stepped up when I couldn't. thanks for being there for me and having my back! forever love y'all."