Former teammate Aly Raisman spoke out Tuesday after Olympic champion Simone Biles pulled out of the women’s gymnastics team finals in Tokyo after struggling in Team USA’s first rotation on the vault.
In a statement on Twitter, USA Gymnastics said Biles withdrew due to a “medical issue,” and would be, “assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.” However, a coach told NBC News “It’s not injury related. It’s a mental issue that Simone is having.”
Raisman, a Massachusetts native, told TODAY she’s hoping Biles stays strong.
“You know, first of all, I feel sick to my stomach,” she said. “It’s just, it’s horrible. You know, all of these athletes dream of this moment for their whole entire lives, so I’m just completely devastated. I’m obviously so worried, just hoping Simone is OK.”
Raisman said without speaking with Biles, it’s hard to know the severity of her medical issue.
“I’m obviously praying that she’ll be able to compete in the all around final,” she said. “I think that Simone is the biggest story going into the Olympics. It’s really, really devastating.”
Raisman also spoke about the pressure facing Biles.
“It’s just so much pressure,” she said. “There’s only so much she can take. She’s human — sometimes people forget that. “
“Simone is human. She has pains like all of us, she has stress like all of us. It’s insane how much pressure is on her. When I saw he with the medic, my heart dropped. I was just devastated and I still am.”
Regardless of whether Biles is able to compete in the all around final, people in Massachusetts said Tuesday that they are rooting for her.
“I think it lets you see the importance of the mental health if she’s wiling to sacrifice all the hard work and time that she’s put into the Olympics,” Scott Starks said.
“Whatever it is, I’ve got to hope it’s not serious. She was so good in the previous Olympics,” added Jack Parente.
More on Simone Biles
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