With the Olympic Games now in full swing, this series from SwimSwam looks at some of the leading news outside of swimming as athletes around the globe contest their Olympic events in the Japanese capital. Paralympic news will feature ahead of the Games which are due to begin in Tokyo on August 24th.
Simone Biles Withdraws From Individual All-Around Final
Simone Biles has withdrawn from the individual all-around final in Tokyo after pulling out of the women’s team final earlier this week.
The four-time Olympic gold medallist previously cited ‘wanting to focus’ on her mental health as the reason behind her withdrawal from the team final, stating: “After the performance I did, I just didn’t want to go on,” she said.
“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.
“We’re not just athletes. We’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back.
“I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and get hurt. I feel like a lot of athletes speaking up has really helped.
“It’s so big, it’s the Olympic Games. At the end of the day, we don’t want to be carried out of there on a stretcher.”
She will now be unable to defend her all-around Olympic title on Thursday, July 28th. She is also due to compete in the vault, uneven bars, floor and beam finals from August 1st onwards – but is yet to make an announcement about her participation in those events.
A statement from USA Gymnastics read: “Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals.
“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her wellbeing. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”
8-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina Rounds Off Career in Tokyo
46-year-old gymnast Oksana Chusovitina made headlines this week after she officially retired from her sport after competing in her eighth Olympic Games.
It was an outpouring of support for the Uzbekistan athlete as she received a standing ovation from those in the arena following her performance on vault.
Though her score of 14.166 wasn’t enough to secure her a spot in the final, Chusovitina walks away from the sport a record-holder as one of only four women to become 8-time Olympians in their respective sports.
Speaking to media after her event, she said: “It was really nice. I cried tears of happiness because so many people have supported me for a long time.
“I didn’t look at the results, but I feel very proud and happy. I’m saying goodbye to sports. It’s kind of mixed feelings.
“I feel very good to be here. But this will for sure be my last Olympics. I’m 46 years old. Nothing is going to change it. I’m alive, I’m happy, I’m here without any injuries, and I can stand on my own.”
Her first Games came in 1992 where she won Olympic gold.
Duffy Makes History, Wins Bermuda’s First Olympic gold medal
Triathlete Flora Duffy made history in Tokyo on Tuesday this week as she won Bermuda’s first ever Olympic gold medal.
The 33-year-old finished in a time of 1:55.36 ahead of second place finisher Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) who crossed the finish line in 1:56.50. In third was Katie Zaferes (USA) in 1:57.03.
Speaking after her win, Duffy said: “To be an Olympic champion has been my dream since I was a little girl.
“Going through my head was relief, coming into an Olympics as one of the favourites. There was a lot of pressure and expectation.
“I guess I also knew that I was Bermuda’s first medal hope in many many years and just something I wanted to achieve for myself and also for my country. I was definitely overwhelmed, I didn’t know what to do, what to think. It was just a really really special moment.
“Bermuda is a small country but very passionate about its sport. I am just so grateful that I could achieve a personal dream here, but it’s bigger than me.
“It is going to inspire the youth of Bermuda and everyone back home that competing on the world stage from a small island is really possible.”
Duffy also said that the year-long postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games was an advantage for her as she had more time to recover from some existing injuries she was nursing.
She previously finished in eighth place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and has nine World Championship titles to her name as well as a Commonwealth Games gold medal.