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US Gymnast Simone Biles Withdraws from Olympics Individual All-Around Competition


Simone Biles, of the United States, lands from the vault during the artistic gymnastics women's final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo.
Simone Biles, of the United States, lands from the vault during the artistic gymnastics women's final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo.

A day after withdrawing from the women’s gymnastics team finals, Simone Biles of the United States has taken herself out of the individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics.

A statement issued Wednesday morning from USA Gymnastics said Biles, considered the all-time greatest in her sport, is withdrawing “after further medical evaluation” in order to focus on her mental health.

The statement said Biles will continue to be evaluated daily “to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals.”

The 24-year-old Biles withdrew from the overall team finals Tuesday after failing to execute her planned maneuver in the vault and stumbling backward on her landing. She then briefly left the floor with her coach, then returned to rejoin her teammates with her ankle wrapped in a bandage.

With the loss of Biles, the Russian Olympic Committee took the gold in the team finals with the U.S. taking silver and Britain getting the bronze.

Biles later told reporters that she was not in the right frame of mind because of the stress and pressure heading into the competition, and that she needed to “focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being.”

“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being,” USA Gymnastics said in its statement. “Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

Jade Carey, who finished ninth in qualifying, will take Biles’ place in the all-around competition.

Wednesday’s competitions saw U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky making Olympic history while her Australian rival Ariarne Titmus earned a second gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Ledecky won the finals of the women’s 1,500-meter freestyle race at the Tokyo Aquatics Center, the first time the event has been staged at a Summer Olympics. Ledecky’s fellow American Erica Sullivan won the silver medal, while Sarah Kohler of Germany took home the bronze medal.

Ledecky’s dominating performance in the 1,500-meter freestyle — she finished four seconds ahead of Sullivan — came just moments after her dismal finish in the finals of the 200-meter freestyle event, her second head-to-head matchup against Titmus. The Australian star, whose dominating performances have earned her the nickname “The Terminator” in her home country, finished the race at 1:53.50 (one minute, 53.50 seconds) to set a new Olympic record. Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey won the silver medal, while Canadian Penny Oleksiak finished third to take the bronze.

Siobhan Bernadette Haughey of Hong Kong smiles after the women's 200-meter freestyle final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.
Siobhan Bernadette Haughey of Hong Kong smiles after the women's 200-meter freestyle final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

Ledecky finished the 200-meter freestyle in fifth place, nearly two seconds behind Titmus, who also beat the celebrated American in Monday’s 400-meter freestyle race. Ledecky won both events at the 2016 Rio Olympics and had been favored to repeat in Tokyo. But her win in the 1,500-meter freestyle gives her six career Olympic gold medals dating back to the 2012 London Games.

Japanese swimmer Yui Ohashi also became a double gold medal winner Wednesday after winning the 200-meter individual medley, three days after her victory in the 400-meter individual relay. Ohashi edged Americans Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass, who won the silver and bronze medals respectively. Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, the 2016 champion and current world-record holder, finished in seventh place.

Meanwhile, the British men’s team, anchored by Tom Dean, Duncan Scott, James Guy and Matthew Richards, won the 4x200 freestyle relay race, giving Britain its third swimming gold medal at Tokyo. Dean won the 200-meter freestyle Tuesday, with Adam Peaty winning gold in the 100-meter breaststroke the day before.

And Kristof Milak of Hungary set a new Olympic record in winning the gold medal in the men’s 200-meter butterfly race, finishing at 1:51.25 (one minute, 51.25 seconds), with 19-year-old Tomoru Honda of Japan winning the silver medal and Italy’s Federico Burdisso finishing third to win the bronze medal.

Cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands won the gold medal in the women’s time trials event with a time of 30:13.49 (30 minutes, 13.49 seconds) at Fuji International Speedway. Switzerland’s Marlen Reusser finished in second place, with van Vleuten’s compatriot Anna van der Breggen winning bronze.

Van Vleuten’s victory is certain to erase the memory of her humiliating finish in Sunday’s road race event when she ecstatically crossed the finish line believing she had won, only to find out Austrian Anna Kiesenhofer had broken away from the field to take the gold medal, leaving van Vleuten with the silver medal.

Meanwhile, Fiji defeated New Zealand 27-12 in the rugby sevens finals match, successfully defending their 2016 Rio Olympics championship. New Zealand settled for the silver medal, while Argentina downed Britain 17-12 in the bronze medal match.

As of Wednesday night in Tokyo, the United States remains the overall medals leader with 30, followed by China with 24 and host country Japan with 21. But Japan is leading in the gold medal count with 12, with China in second place with 11 and the U.S. in third place with 10 total gold medals.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters and AFP.

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