On the morning of July 27, 2021, rumors and reports emerged online that U.S. star gymnast Simone Biles had withdrawn from the women’s artistic gymnastics team final at the Olympics, striking a blow to the team’s chances of winning the event, which began at 6:45 a.m. Eastern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Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue.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However, at a news conference later that morning, Biles insisted she had “no injury,” and said she had withdrawn due to the effects of stress: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In a subsequent news release, USA Gymnastics said Biles had withdrawn “out of an abundance of caution for her mental and physical well-being,” leaving open the possibility that she had suffered an injury of some kind, which may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.