Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez and More Gymnasts React to Simone Biles Bowing Out of Team Final
Both Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez addressed her exit while speaking to the Today show Tuesday after news broke suddenly that Biles, 24, would not be competing in the team final "due to a medical issue."
Calling the news "horrible," Raisman, 27, said she's "completely devastated" and "obviously so worried and just hoping that Simone is okay."
"I also am just thinking about the mental impact that this has to have on Simone," she added. "It's just so much pressure, and I've been watching how much pressure has been on her in the months leading up to the Games, and it's just devastating."
At the same time, Raisman said, "It's also just really important to think about how much pressure has been on her, and there's only so much that someone can take."
"She's human, and I think sometimes people forget that," the retired gymnast noted. "And Simone, just like everyone else, is doing the best that she can."
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Hernandez, 21, said on Today that many fans watching "are speculating every little thing" about why Biles bowed out of the team competition, adding, "I can't imagine what she's feeling right now, because people have been keeping a very close eye on her for the last few years and of course, this is the moment where everybody wants to tune in."
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Hernandez — who is serving as a studio analyst for Peacock during the Olympics this year and, in 2016, worked alongside Biles, Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Madison Kocian (a.k.a. the "Final Five") to bring home the team gold — cited the "immense pressure" Biles is surely under.
"When something like this happens, there's just immense pressure [and] this feeling of, 'I don't want to let my team down,' " she continued. "We don't want to speculate [about why she exited] ... at the end of the day, mentally, physically, we just want to make sure she's okay."
In a statement from MyKayla Skinner shared by Today, the athlete, whose elite gymnastics career came to an end on Sunday after she failed to qualify for any events, said of Biles, "My heart broke for her. I can't imagine what she's going through right now."
A surprising reversal of her Tokyo Olympic hopes, Biles exited the women's gymnastics team final early Tuesday night in Japan — after briefly leaving the floor following a botched showing on the vault, her first event.
"Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue," USA Gymnastics said in a statement to PEOPLE and other outlets. "She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions."
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The reigning Olympic all-around champion and five-time medalist, Biles left the competition floor with the team's medical trainer Marcia Faustin following her routine on Tuesday, in which she bailed on her planned Amanar vault for an easier 1.5 twist and posted a 13.766.
It marks the lowest vault score of Biles' Olympics career, an event in which she has dominated for years.
Soon after leaving, Biles returned to the floor before the U.S. competed on uneven bars. She was seen hugging her teammates and, as she remained on the side, was dressed in her white Team USA warm-up gear.
"Having to put that much pressure on [Simone] to carry the team to gold, it's not fair," Hernandez said on the Today show Tuesday. "This is a team of four, not a team of one. ... Hopefully we can get into gold. We'll see what happens. But these girls are really coming in as underdogs right now."
On Monday, Biles insisted she was shaking off her preliminary-round errors and embracing a "fresh start" for the all-around and individual event finals.
"Prelims ☑️ now to prepare for finals. It wasn't an easy day or my best but I got through it," Biles wrote in reflection of her first day of gymnastics at the Games, seemingly referencing the stumbles she made on floor and vault in Tokyo on Sunday.
"I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn't affect me but damn sometimes it's hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke!" the two-time Olympian said.
"BUT I'm happy my family was able to be with me virtually🤍 they mean the world to me!" Biles added, sharing a selfie she took of herself and a monitor which showed her parents cheering her on from the U.S.
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.