It was a wild Tuesday morning in the United States as fans woke up to the news that Simone Biles, recognized widely as the greatest gymnast of all time, withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics team final competition.
The decision came after Biles bailed out on her expected vault, finishing a Yurchenko with fewer twists and a shaky landing for a low-scoring 13.766. She returned to the floor following a brief exit from the arena with a USA Gymnastics trainer. It was announced shortly afterward the four-time gold medalist would not continue in the competition.
The vault and ensuing conversation with teammates is below.
Biles, 24, can be heard on the NBC Sports video feed talking up her teammates on the sideline after making the decision to step back.
"I'm sorry. I love you guys. But you're going to be just fine. I love you," she said, hugging the teammates circled around her.
"You guys have trained your whole entire life for this. It's fine. I've been to an Olympics. I'll be fine. This is your first. You go out there and kick ass, OK?"
Biles remained with Team USA on the floor and loudly cheered on encouragement to her teammates. Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum continued on to earn silver for the United States. A talented Russian squad took gold by defeating the USA, 169.528-166.096. Great Britain won bronze.
Biles, a five-time Olympic medalist at the 2016 Rio Games, said afterward she was "not in the right headspace."
“I’m not going to lose a medal for this country and for these girls," she said. "They worked too hard … it's not worth it, especially when you have three amazing athletes who can step up."
She spoke with the media after the competition and was jovial celebrating her teammates while speaking with NBC Today host Hoda Kotb about the silver medal performances.
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