Timeline of Simone Biles' Tokyo Olympics: From Skipping Opening Ceremony to Exiting Her Event Finals

Simone Biles' second Olympics did not go how she (or her fans) expected. After pulling out of the July 27 team final following her first apparatus, Biles spoke out about the disorienting condition that prevented her from competing safely and effectively

Simone Biles
Simone Biles.
01 of 15

Welcome to Tokyo

Simon Biles
simone biles/instagram

The Olympics came on the heels of Biles' making some uncharacteristic errors on the balance beam at trials in St. Louis on June 27. Despite a few wobbles, Biles still finished in first place.

On July 14, the 24-year-old gymnast — who was the overwhelming favorite to win gold in the team, all-around and vault competitions — shared on Instagram that she was Tokyo-bound for her second Summer Games.

Upon arrival, the women's gymnastics squad, including teammates Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum as well as individual specialists Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner, was taken to training camp from July 15-18 in Juntendo, nearly 40 miles outside of Tokyo.

While prepping for the Games, alternate Kara Eaker tested positive for COVID and was unable to travel with the team to the host city for competition.

02 of 15

Podium Training

Simone Biles, MyKayla Skinner, Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles

While most athletes had lodging at the Olympic Village, both the men's and women's gymnastics teams opted to stay at a hotel near their competition venue, Tokyo's Ariake Gymnastics Center.

On July 22, during their official practice session days ahead of prelims, Biles successfully executed her riskiest stunt — the Yurchenko double pike on vault. The dangerous move consists of a round-off onto the springboard, back handspring onto the vaulting table, and a second flip done in the pike position. (By adding flips instead of twists, the chances of landing on your head or neck increase drastically.)

Biles first debuted the Yurchenko double pike vault in competition at the U.S. Classic in May.

03 of 15

Missing the Opening Ceremony

Simone Biles Instagram
Simone Biles and Team USA. Simone Biles Instagram

The six ladies skipped the opening ceremony on July 23, as seen on the athletes' social media posts.

At the time, Biles explained to fans that they missed the opening ceremony due to "COVID" and the "amount of standing."

In addition, a gymnastics official told PEOPLE: "The men's and women's artistic gymnasts did not walk. They will be competing within the next couple of days and are focused on preparation."

04 of 15

First Signs at Qualification

Simone Biles
Simone Biles.

On July 25, Biles and the U.S. women's gymnastics roster competed in the qualifying round and made uncharacteristic errors that ultimately put them in second with a score of 170.562, behind Russia who were 1.067 points ahead of the Americans.

It was the first time in 11 years at a world championships or Olympics that the U.S. failed to top the women's gymnastics team leaderboard.

Biles, who qualified for every women's gymnastics medal event at the Tokyo Games, finished first in the individual all-around despite errors on all but one apparatus. On floor, she stepped out of bounds. On vault, she stepped off the mat on her landing when she attempted the Cheng, a half-twist onto the vaulting table and a straight-legged front flip with 1.5 twist. The uneven bars, her second to last apparatus, was the only one Biles completed without an issue. Then on the balance beam, she stumbled after her dismount.

05 of 15

'Fresh Start'

Simone Biles
Simone Biles / Instagram

The next day, on July 26, Biles spoke about her shaky prelims with her fans on social media.

Embracing a "fresh start" for the all-around and individual event finals at the time, Biles reflected on her first day of gymnastics, which she said "wasn't an easy day or my best but I got through it."

"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 decorated athlete wrote.

Going into event finals, Biles — who was the reigning Olympic all-around champion — and Lee were the two qualifiers in the all-around for Team USA as part of the two-per-country rule.

06 of 15

Team All-Around Final

Simone Biles

On July 27, Biles unexpectedly bowed out of the women's gymnastics team all-around final after her first apparatus.

In her opening rotation on vault, the star opted out of an expected Amanar mid-air, chose a Yurchenko one-and-a-half twist instead, and made a large hop forward on her landing.

Afterward, Biles — who was originally set to compete on bars in the second rotation — surprised everyone by walking off the competition floor with her coach Cecile Canqueteau-Landi. Biles would return to the floor a few minutes later, without grips. She then put on her warmup ensemble.

She was replaced by Chiles, who had mere minutes of a warning. For the three remaining apparatuses, Biles was seen cheering and supporting her teammates after telling them that she would not be moving forward in the competition.

07 of 15

Why Simone Stopped

Simone Biles; Cecile Landi
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

After the four-member U.S. squad won silver behind the ROC, Biles explained to reporters what forced her to withdraw from the team final.

The athlete cited both her mental health — in particular, the rattling stress of this particular competition, in which she was seen by many as the face of Team USA — and the sudden onset of what she called the "twisties," when she lost her ability to sense her body move in the air.

"I was just dealing with some things internally which will get fixed out in the next couple of days," she said, adding that she was worried her stress would negatively impact her performance and her team's chances to medal.

Biles had "withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions," USA Gymnastics said in a statement that night. Officials also said Biles' exit was "in order to focus on her mental health."

08 of 15

Fighting Four

Women's Team Final
Team USA Gymnastics after winning silver. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Also after the all-around team final, Biles told reporters what she said to her teammates about her withdrawal. "You have done all the training, you can do this without me and it will be just fine," she advised Lee, Chiles and McCallum.

Though the team did not win gold, Biles told reporters that she was "proud" of how the rest of the silver-winning squad performed. "For me, I'm proud for how the girls stepped up and did what they had to do. I owe this to the girls, it has nothing to do with me. I am very proud of them," she said.

"It was definitely something that was unexpected," Chiles said at the press conference with Biles and their teammates. "We were kind of emotional when we found out that she wasn't going to continue and, you know, we always kind of put our minds in a great position. Because at the end of the day, we're out there to show what we needed to show and we went out there and did what we did."

Lee agreed: "There was definitely a lot of emotions running through all of our heads, but I'm really proud that we were able to step up to the plate and do what we needed to do. It's very hard to lose a teammate, especially at the Olympic Games."

09 of 15

First Withdrawal

Simone Biles
Simone Biles. LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images

On July 28, USA Gymnastics announced Biles' first of four withdrawals from event finals.

"After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health," the statement said, one day before the event was to take place the next day.

"The outpouring love & support I've received has made me realize I'm more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before," Biles tweeted that day.

Carey stepped in for Biles in the individual all-around, during which she finished in eighth place. Meanwhile, Lee won gold in the event and became the fifth consecutive American female gymnast to be crowned all-around champion. (Biles won the title in the 2016 Rio Games.)

10 of 15

Championing Mental Health


On July 29, Biles spoke about her mental health concerns and why she chose to withdraw, hours before she was seen cheering for Lee and Carey in the stands.

"For anyone saying I quit. I didn't quit, my mind & body are simply not in sync as you can see here," Biles shared on social media, including a clip of her practice routine on bars that morning. "I don't think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface nor do I have to explain why I put health first."

In another clip, Biles explained: "No this was not happening before I left the USA," and "it randomly started happening after prelims competition the VERY next morning."

During a Q&A session on her Instagram Story that day, Biles opening up to a fan about "twisties," the phenomenon gymnasts experience where they lose their understanding of where they are in the air, putting them at risk of injury when they land.

"Literally can not tell up from down. It's the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body. What's even scarier is since I have no idea where I am in the air I also have NO idea how I'm going to land or what I'm going to land on," Biles said.

At the time, she had four individual event finals (vault, beam, bars and floor) still scheduled.

11 of 15

Second and Third Exits

Simone Biles
From left: Jordan Chiles, Simone Biles and MyKayla Skinner.

On July 30, USA Gymnastics confirmed that Biles withdrew from the vault and bars finals, which took place two days later.

"Today, after further consultation with medical staff, Simone Biles has decided to withdraw from the event finals for vault and the uneven bars. She will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether to compete in the finals for floor exercise and balance beam," the statement read.

Skinner was announced as the one to step in for Biles in the vault final.

Had she competed, Biles could have attempted the Yurchenko double pike in Olympic competition and would've been able to defend her title from the 2016 Rio Games.

12 of 15

Floor: Her Fourth Withdrawal

Simone Biles
Simone Biles.

On July 31, USA Gymnastics announced: "Simone has withdrawn from the event final for floor and will make a decision on beam later this week. Either way, we're all behind you, Simone."

The beam final, set to take place on Tuesday, is the last gymnastics event final of the Games.

13 of 15

No. 1 Cheerleader

Simone Biles

On Aug. 2, Biles cheered loudly in the stands, along with Chiles and McCallum, as she watched Skinner — who had thought her Olympic dreams were dead — win silver, her first-ever Olympic medal, in the vault final.

Shortly after, Biles could also be heard supporting Lee in the bars final, for which the 18-year-old Minnesota athlete won the bronze medal. Lee collected a box set with one medal in each color (gold, silver and bronze) ahead of Tuesday's beam final.

14 of 15

Beam Ready

Simone Biles
Yul Moldauer, Simone Biles and MyKayla Skinner.

On Monday, Aug. 1, Biles' name was included on the short list of finalists competing in the last gymnastics individual medal event, the balance beam.

"We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow - Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can't wait to watch you both!" USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Twitter.

An hour later, Biles was spotted excitedly cheering on Jade Carey, who won her first gold medal in the floor final at the Tokyo Games.

15 of 15

Victory in the End

Simone Biles
Simone Biles. Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Aug. 3, Biles won the bronze medal in the balance beam final.

Before she could get cleared to compete, the gymnast had "two sessions" with Team USA's sports psychologist and was medically evaluated by doctors.

"To be cleared to do beam, which I didn't think I was going to be, just meant the world to be back out there," she told reporters after winning her first individual victory in Tokyo. "I wasn't expecting to walk away with a medal."

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