Simone Biles's bid for Olympic history in doubt after withdrawing from final with injury

American gymnast drops out of women's team event after one vault and will be 'assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions'

Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles was forced out of the team finals on Tuesday, with USA Gymnastics describing it as a medical issue.

The 24-year-old's quest to become the greatest female Olympian took a twist when she dropped out of the women's team event after one vault.

After a disappointing attempt in the first rotation, the American was shown as an 'R' on the competitor list before the bars began, which meant she would not continue in the competition.

After leaving the floor with the team doctor, Biles returned several minutes later. She took off her bar grips and then hugged teammates Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles before putting on her tracksuit. Chiles replaced Biles on uneven bars and balance beam.

USA Gymnastics did not specify the nature of Biles’s medical issue, saying in a statement she “will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions".

Biles had been leading the US defence of their women's gymnastics team title and was aiming to add to her haul of four gold medals won at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

However, the Russian Olympic Committee won the gold medal on Tuesday. The Russian gymnasts posted a team score of 169.528, ahead of the US in second place at 166.096. The gold is the first for the Russians since the unified team triumphed in Barcelona in 1992. It came a day after the ROC men’s team edged out Japan for the top spot in the men’s final.

Whether Biles gets the opportunity to compete in the five individual finals will depend on the severity of her injury. It is unclear if her withdrawal from the team final was taken as a precaution.

Her bid did not get off to a great start, with a disappointing score of 13.766 on the vault in the first rotation. All three ROC players who vaulted scored higher, as did her US teammates.

Winning the six golds on offer in Japan would have lifted Biles to 10 – one more than Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina’s women’s record of nine gold medals won over three Olympic Games: Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964.

It would also have marked the most gold medals won by any woman in any Olympic sport.

Only Michael Phelps, with his 23 swimming golds, has won more.

After the qualifying rounds, Biles shared her thoughts on struggling with the pressure placed on her, writing in a social media post that "the Olympics is no joke".

Updated: July 27th 2021, 2:52 PM
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