Biles evaluated before individual finals

Simone Biles has withdrawn from her all-around title defence over mental health concerns.
Simone Biles has withdrawn from her all-around title defence over mental health concerns.

Simone Biles is being evaluated daily by American gymnastics chiefs before any decision is made over whether one of the all-time great athletes will compete in next week's individual events at the Olympics.

Biles won't defend her Olympic all-around title on Thursday, having withdrawn from the competition to focus on her mental well-being.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement that the 24-year-old is opting to not compete, the decision coming a day after Biles removed herself from the team final following one rotation because she felt she wasn't mentally ready.

Jade Carey, who finished ninth in qualifying, will take Biles' place in the all-around.

Yet it is still not yet known if Biles, who has qualified for the finals on all four apparatuses, will take part next week.

Biles spent a portion of Wednesday evening watching American teammates Sam Mikulak and Brody Malone competing in the men's all-around finals.

Mikulak, a three-time Olympian, was among the many who praised Biles' decision.

"We've had some conversations (and) she seems like she's doing what's best for her," Mikulak said.

"It's awesome to see that she's gotten to go against the pressure of society and do what's best for herself."

The 24-year-old came to Tokyo as possibly the face of the Games following the retirement of swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt.

She topped qualifying on Sunday despite piling up mandatory deductions on vault, floor and beam following shaky dismounts.

She posted on social media on Monday that she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders.

The weight became too heavy after vaulting during team finals. She lost herself in mid-air and completed 1 1/2 twists instead of 2 1/2. She consulted with US team doctor Marcia Faustin before walking off the field of play.

When she returned, she took off her bar grips, hugged teammates Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum and Jordan Chiles and turned into the team's head cheerleader as the US claimed silver behind the Russian Olympic Committee.

"Once I came out here (to compete), I was like, 'No mental is, not there so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself,'" Biles said following the medal ceremony.

The decision opens the door wide open for the all-around, a title that was long considered a foregone conclusion.

Rebeca Andrade, of Brazil, finished second to Biles during qualifying, followed by Lee and Russians Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova. The four were separated by three-tenths of a point on Sunday.

Australian Associated Press