Simone Biles chooses not to defend her Olympic title in vault, retiring from Sunday’s finals for vault and uneven bars as she focuses on her sanity.
Canadian gymnast Ellie Black plans to compete in the beam final after again suffering an ankle injury in training. The 25-year-old from Halifax had sprained less than a month before the start of the Olympics and also withdrew from the women’s all-around in order to rest.
Biles, the 24-year-old six-time Olympic medalist, withdrew from competition in the team final on Tuesday and also missed Thursday’s all-around final. Biles said on social media Friday that she was dealing with what is defined as “the twisties”: the sudden inability to feel comfortable twisting in the air.
Biles said she has struggled with the problem before, but usually only when it comes to the jump and floor exercises. This time around, it’s an issue on all four devices. She is expected to compete in the balance beam and floor finals next week.
Biles was working on performing the Yurchenko Double Pike jump in Tokyo. She unveiled the jump – never performed by a female competitor – in May. If she had successfully landed the jump, which requires the gymnast to do a circle and a backward jump on the table before two back somersaults with her hands clasped behind her legs, then the jump would have her name in the code of points of the sport. .
WATCH | Biles ranks mental health number one in Tokyo:
USA Gymnastics said Biles will continue to be assessed on a daily basis to determine his potential preparation for future competitions.
MyKayla Skinner, who had the fourth best vault score in qualifying, will compete in the vault finals for the United States alongside Jade Carey, who finished with the second best score. Skinner did not initially compete in the vault finals because the rules of the International Gymnastics Federation allow each country to have a maximum of two athletes per event in the finals.
Skinner, 24, was a replacement for the 2016 Olympic team that won gold in Rio de Janeiro. She made the 2020 squad as a “plus-one,” competing in all four events in qualifying last Sunday. In fact, she finished 11th in the all-around in qualifying, but didn’t make it to the 24-women’s final because Biles and eventual all-around champion Sunisa Lee had higher scores among the US contestants.
After further consultation with medical staff, Simone Biles decided to withdraw from the event finals for vault and uneven bars. She will continue to be assessed daily to determine if she will compete in the finals for the floor exercise and balance beam. pic.twitter.com/kWqgZJK4LJ
Skinner posted a photo to Instagram after being named Biles’ replacement on vault, expressing his excitement about competing for a medal. She and Carey are both considered the best contenders.
“Do this for Simone Biles,” Skinner wrote. “It’s time baby.”