Simone Biles says withdrawal was to focus on mental health

(Update 2: Adds details from Biles press conference, re-ledes, alters headline)

Tokyo, Jul 27 (EFE).- World-renowned gymnast Simone Biles said on Tuesday she withdrew from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics women’s artistic gymnastics team finals to focus on her mental health.

Team USA landed the silver medal at the event while the Russian Olympic Committee women’s team ended a decades-long gold drought. Great Britain took bronze, the team’s first podium position in the category since 1928.

Biles told reporters after the event: “I have to focus on my mental health. I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now.”

The 24-year-old decided to exit proceedings after just one routine in which she scored 13.766 on the vault at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, her team’s lowest.

“After the performance I did, I just didn’t want to go on,” the gymnast said.

“I don’t trust myself as much anymore. Maybe it’s getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world.

“We’re not just athletes. We’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back,” she added.

Describing events earlier, Tokyo 2020 press said: “Just moments after marching out on the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Biles had a scary warm-up vault. After blocking off the vaulting table, the 24-year-old appeared to get lost in the air, opening out after doing just one-and-a-half of her planned two-and-a-half twists.

“After vault, Biles sat on the sideline talking with coach Cecile Landi and the USA Gymnastics athletic trainer. Their discussion ended with Biles and the trainer leaving the field of play together.”

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