(NEXSTAR) – After Simone Biles realized that something was wrong, the legendary gymnast known for her stunning physical ability showed tremendous inner strength by withdrawing from competition Tuesday.
Biles, who revealed on social media Monday that she felt the weight of the world on her coming into the Tokyo Olympics, uncharacteristically missed a vault and knew she wasn’t feeling like herself.
“I’m sorry. I love you guys, but you’re gonna be just fine,” Biles could be heard telling her teammates after walking off the mat. “You guys have trained your whole entire life for this, it’s fine. I’ve been to an Olympics, I’ll be fine. This is your first – you go out there and kick a–, OK?”
There was speculation that she might be hurt after seeming to get lost in the air and failing to complete her full rotations, but Biles later confirmed on NBC’s Today that physically she felt fine.
“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” she said. “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”
For any gymnast competing in the Olympics, and especially Biles, being unable to locate your landing spot comfortably while rotating so high through the air could mean serious injury.
Biles later explained that she made the decision to protect not just herself, but her teammates as well.
“I didn’t want to go into any of the other events second-guessing myself,” Biles said. “So, I thought it would be better if I took a step back and let these girls go out there and do their job.”
Russia went on to edge out USA and take gold, with the Americans holding onto silver.
Despite not reaching the top podium, news of Biles’ decision was met with an outpouring of love on social media: