Tokyo Olympics update
Sign up for myFT Daily Digest and be the first to learn about the Tokyo Olympics news.
Simone Biles withdrew from the Olympic women’s gymnastics team finals due to mental health problems and expressed doubts about whether she will continue to win gold in the Tokyo Olympics.
In the first game of Tuesday’s competition, the American athlete, widely regarded as the world’s greatest gymnast, accidentally spotted the vaulting horse and quickly left the arena. She decided to “retire to the second line” and returned to the bench to support her teammates, who won the silver medal after the Russian Olympic Committee and the United Kingdom won the bronze medal.
After the event, Byers told reporters at the Ariake Gymnastics Center that she has not yet decided whether she is in the right state of mind to compete for the remaining five individual Olympic gymnastics championships, which will start from the women’s all-around finals on Thursday. .
“I just don’t trust myself as much as I used to,” she told reporters, bursting into tears. “I don’t know if I’m getting older and I was a little nervous when doing gymnastics.
“I also know that I don’t have so much fun. I know this Olympics. I hope it belongs to me. I came in. I think I am doing this for other people. To please others and do what I like to do. Being deprived of my heart, it hurts my heart.”
Suspicion of her continued participation will cast a shadow over the Olympics. At the Olympics, Byers is expected to become one of the star athletes and will re-ignite issues related to sports welfare and fierce competition pressure.
Byers said that the Tokyo Olympics were postponed from last year and are now being held under the continuing pandemic and its restrictions, but the situation does not help.
“These Olympics are really stressful,” Byers said. “In general, there are no audiences, there are many different variables. This is a long week. This is a long Olympic process. This is a long year.”
Before the Olympics, Byers had publicly stated that after suffering physical and sexual abuse, he would go to see a psychologist. Larry Nassar, Has long served as the team doctor of the national gymnastics team. Nasser was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison in 2018 for abusing hundreds of female athletes.
“Treatment is as helpful as medication, but whenever you are in a state of stress, you get a little scared and don’t know how to deal with all these emotions, especially at the Olympics,” Byers said.
Her difficulties will raise further questions about her relationship with the US gymnastics team. She publicly called for an independent investigation into the abuse scandal by the state management agency.
Anne Heffernan, an official of the US gymnastics team, admitted that there is still a trust gap between athletes and organizations, but “what she needs to succeed is what I do.”
On Tuesday, Byers left the field briefly with her coach after a mistake in her first vault. She came back and announced the decision to her teammates Grace McCallum, Sunissa Lee and Jordan Chilis, and their performance was enough to earn her a silver medal.
“She terrified Simone Byers,” Chilis said at the press conference. “Basically, she leads the team. When we have to stand up and do what we have to do, it is very difficult and stressful.”
Byers originally expected to perform the Yurchenko double gun on the vaulting horse. This movement is so difficult and potentially dangerous that the authorities of the sport decided to score less than less complicated movements to discourage other gymnastics. Athletes don’t try.
On Tuesday, Byers tried an Amanar skill, which she used to use frequently. But she jumped up in mid-air and took a long step during the landing.
Her attempt score was 13.766, the lowest among teammates. A few minutes later, she withdrew from another competition-parallel bars, floor and beams.
Byers brought gymnastics to the height of anti-gravity. She has four movements named after her, which is an honour to the first gymnast to perform these movements in a competition. Five years ago, she won four gold medals in Rio de Janeiro, and her efforts are one of the most anticipated events in these Olympics.
“We will visit once a day,” Byers said of whether she would continue to stay in Tokyo. “Tomorrow we have a training day. It would be nice to have a spiritual day off. Injured? No. It’s just that my self-esteem has been hurt a little.”