Fact Check

Why Did Simone Biles Withdraw From the Olympics Gymnastics Team Final?

Discrepancies emerged, on July 27, 2021, over the exact reason or reasons for the star gymnast's withdrawal during the women's artistic team final.

Published July 26, 2021

Updated July 27, 2021
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 27: Simone Biles of Team United States stumbles upon landing after competing in vault during the Women's Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Simone Biles withdrew from the women's artistic gymnastics team Olympic final on July 27, 2021, due to physical injury.

On the morning of July 27, 2021, rumors and reports emerged online that U.S. star gymnast Simone Biles had withdrawn from the women's artistic gymnastics team final at the Olympics, striking a blow to the team's chances of winning the event, which began at 6:45 a.m. Eastern time (7:45 p.m. in Tokyo).

NBC had initially reported that an unnamed U.S. coach told them Biles' withdrawal was related to a "mental issue" rather than a physical injury, but a subsequent statement from USA Gymnastics cited a "medical issue."

At 8:07 a.m. Eastern time (9:07 p.m. in Tokyo), USA Gymnastics — the sport's governing body in the United States — posted a statement that read:

Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue.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.

However, at a news conference later that morning, Biles insisted she had "no injury," and said she had withdrawn due to the effects of stress:

The Russian Olympic Committee ultimately won the artistic team event, with the U.S. team getting silver.

In a subsequent news release, USA Gymnastics said Biles had withdrawn "out of an abundance of caution for her mental and physical well-being," leaving open the possibility that she had suffered an injury of some kind, which may have factored into her decision.

Snopes contacted USA Gymnastics several times on July 27, seeking clarification on the exact reason or reasons for Biles' withdrawal from the team final that day, and requesting a resolution of the apparent discrepancies between the accounts offered by Biles and the governing body. We have not yet received a response to those inquires.

At time of publication, a clear consensus has not been established between Biles and USA Gymnastics as to what exactly prompted, and did not prompt, her decision to withdraw from the remainder of the team final. If or when further clarification emerges, we will update this fact check accordingly. As such, we are issuing a rating of "Research in Progress," for now.


Update [July 27, 2021]: Added references to Biles' remarks at a news conference; a USA Gymnastics news release; our efforts to obtain clarification as to the exact reason or reasons for Biles' withdrawal.

Dan Mac Guill is a former writer for Snopes.