By Steve Keating
TOKYO, Jul 27 (Reuters) – Simone Biles’ future at the Tokyo Olympics was called into question on Tuesday, after the gymnast left the women’s team final after a disappointing jump and the United States handed over gold to Russia. .
After a frustrating performance that led her to withdraw from the afternoon competition, Biles said she was unsure if she would compete in the women’s all-around all-around on Thursday.
“After the performance I had, I didn’t want to move on,” Biles said, fighting back tears as he met with the media. “Let’s see what happens on Thursday … I’m just trying to prepare for the next test.”
It was an amazing start to the Olympics for the American women’s team that had not been defeated in a major tag team competition since 2011 and hoped to dominate the final.
The event was turned upside down in an instant when Biles, the world and Olympic all-around champion, completely missed her opening jump and scored a low score of 13,766.
That spelled a setback the United States never recovered from, as Russia, which competes as the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) because the country was stripped of its flag and anthem for doping offenses, claimed the team title for the first time. since the 1992 Barcelona Games.
The United States, winner in 2012 and 2016, had to settle for silver and the United Kingdom for bronze.
SIGNS OF PROBLEMS
There were indications that Biles was having trouble keeping up with his level before the start of the Games. At the United States Olympic Trials in June, tears escaped her as she was unable to take in a disappointing performance.
The pressure to chase medals continued to mount in Tokyo, and Biles posted on social media, after Sunday’s uninspired qualifying effort, that he felt he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.
“It wasn’t an easy day or my best day, but I got through it,” Biles wrote on Instagram. “Sometimes I really feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders … the Olympics are not a joke.”
There was an instant flood of support for Biles on social media. “Gratitude and support is what @Simone_Biles deserves,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Twitter.
The six golds in Tokyo are now unattainable, but Biles could still match the record of nine golds held by Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina at three Olympics: Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964.
Biles also hinted that there are things more important than medals. “I don’t trust myself anymore,” she said. “I tried to go out on the track for the team and they stepped forward (…) I have to focus on my mental health.”
Despite having made only one jump, Biles will add a silver medal to the five he won at the 2016 Rio Games, including four golds. But her bid to become the greatest Olympian of all time with 10 golds was thwarted.
His performance didn’t get off to a great start, with a disappointing jump score in the first rotation. The three Russians who jumped scored higher, as did their teammates from the United States.
Dazed and on the verge of tears, Biles sat dejectedly in a chair as her coaches and teammates surrounded her before moving onto the uneven bars, placing second 1,067 points behind her Russian rivals.
And she seemed more disappointed to leave the track as her teammates warmed up on the uneven bars.
Coaches and officials throughout the Ariake Gymnastics Center began to speak when the world and Olympic champion reappeared minutes later donning her warm-up clothes.
Although Biles left the stadium without knowing if she would return, some of her teammates hope to see her on Thursday.
“This is very unusual for her, but if you are under a lot of pressure it can affect your body,” said Japanese Mai Murakami. “I think he has decided to protect his body for this week, for the all-around and the gadgets.”
(Reporting by Steve Keating, edited in Spanish by Daniela Desantis)