After fierce debate erupted over iconic U.S. gymnast Simone Biles’ withdrawal from the gymnastics team final on Tuesday after she had trouble with her vault, which led to the U.S. women’s team winning the silver medal instead of the gold medal that was widely expected, Biles’ teammate Sunisa Lee spoke out, tweeting, “We do not owe anyone a gold medal.”
Lee wrote, “never been prouder to be apart of such an amazing team with an amazing group of girls. we stepped up when we needed to and did this for ourselves. we do not owe anyone a gold medal, we are WINNERS in our hearts.”
never been prouder to be apart of such an amazing team with an amazing group of girls. we stepped up when we needed to and did this for ourselves. we do not owe anyone a gold medal, we are WINNERS in our hearts. 🤍
— Sunisa lee (@sunisalee_) July 28, 2021
Lee also offered a nickname for the team in the vein of the nicknames of previous teams, tweeting a picture of herself, Biles, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum, and captioning it, “The Fighting 4.”
THE FIGHTING 4. pic.twitter.com/f8YWClsYiP
— Sunisa lee (@sunisalee_) July 28, 2021
“First, there was the ‘The Magnificent Seven’ in 1996. Then came the ‘The Fierce Five’ in 2012 and ‘The Final Five’ in 2016. Now, it appears to be ‘The Fighting Four,’” NBC News reported.
Chiles unexpectedly performed in two events: balance beam and bars. She stated, “Throughout the whole thing, I was telling myself like, ‘This is for the team, I’m gonna have to do what I normally do throughout each training that I’ve done and show out. And you know, at the end of the day, it was all for the team … it was very stressful and emotional, but we’re good.”
Lee added, “We did it for Simone.”
On Tuesday, after Biles withdrew, USA Gymnastics tweeted, “Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”
Official statement: "Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions."
Thinking of you, Simone! pic.twitter.com/QA1GYHwWTv
— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 27, 2021
After Biles withdrew from the team event, she stated, as reported by Reuters:
There is more to life than just gymnastics. … It is very unfortunate that it has to happen at this stage because I definitely wanted these Olympics to go a little bit better. But again, take it one day at the time. We’ll see how the rest goes.
“It just sucks when you are fighting with your own head,” she continued. “You want to do it for yourself but you’re just too worried about what everybody else is going to say, think, the internet. So I just had to stay off of it for the past couple of days. It’s just like when everybody tweeted you and you feel that weight of the world. I felt it, and at the end of the day, if I had pushed through that … okay, this is for me. It is for me, but I feel like I have do to it for other people first.”
Biles told reporters, “No injury, thankfully, and that’s why I took a step back because I didn’t want to do something silly out there and get injured. I thought it was best if the girls took over and did the rest of the job which they absolutely did. It’s been really stressful these Olympic Games. I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a back seat and work on my mindfulness. I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job,” CNN reported.
She also stated, “After the performance I did, I just didn’t want to go on. I have to focus on my mental health. I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now. We have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do. I don’t trust myself as much anymore. Maybe it’s getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world.”
After the team won the silver medal, Biles stated, “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 she told the team after she withdrew, “You have done all the training, you can do this without me, and it will be just fine.”
Biles later told the “Today” show, “We’re going to take it day by day, and we’re just going to see. … Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape. Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”
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