US gymnastics star Simone Biles drops out of women’s team event

USA Gymnastics says sports superstar ‘has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue’.

Simone Biles watches gymnasts perform after she exited the team final with apparent injury at the 2020 Summer Olympics [Ashley Landis/The Associated Press]

Reigning Olympic gymnastics champion and sports superstar Simone Biles has dropped out of competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after suffering an injury during the vault event.

The 24-year-old, widely considered to be the best gymnast of all time, performed just one vault attempt on Tuesday before huddling with a trainer.

She then exited the competition floor with the team doctor and returned several minutes later with her right leg wrapped.

She took off her bar grips, hugged teammates Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles before putting on a jacket and sweatpants.

Biles performs on the vault during the artistic gymnastics women’s final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, [Ashley Landis/AP Photo]

Gymnastics’ ruling body the FIG later confirmed on Twitter: “After one routine Simone Biles will sit out the rest of the women’s team final”.

USA Gymnastics later released a statement saying that Biles “has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”

The US will have to finish the rest of the team competition, in which the top scores in the four main events from each country’s gymnasts are combined to determine a winner, without Biles, who won four gold medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Her absence is sure to hamper the US team’s bid to claim a third straight Olympic title.

In the coming days, Biles was also set to compete in the all-around individual final and was also expected to compete in the vault, uneven bars, floor exercise and balance beam individual finals.

It was not immediately clear what Tuesday’s withdrawal would mean for the other events.

Biles will still receive a medal if the US wins the team competition without her.

In an Instagram post on Monday, Biles said she sometimes feels like she has “the weight of the world” on her shoulders.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies