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Simone Biles withdraws from vault and uneven bars at Tokyo Olympics

U.S. gymnast Simone Biles looks on during the women's team competition at the Olympics on Tuesday.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

Simone Biles, who was scratched from the women’s team competition and withdrew from the all-around event final after losing her ability to sense where she is in the air, has withdrawn from the event finals in the vault and uneven bars, which will be contested Sunday.

USA Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body in the United States, said in a statement released Saturday that Biles made the decision to withdraw from the vault and uneven bars finals “after further consultation with medical staff.”

MyKayla Skinner will replace Biles and will join Jade Carey in the vault final. Skinner had the fourth-best vault score in qualifying but didn’t reach the final automatically because of a rule that limits each country to a maximum of two representatives in any event final. The U.S. will not be granted a replacement for Biles on the uneven bars because no other U.S. woman scored high enough to earn a replacement spot.

Jenna Prandini knows expectations are high after she replaced Sha’Carri Richardson in the 200 meters, but she’s confident she can perform in Tokyo.

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Biles, 24, won five medals at the 2016 Rio Games and was expected to win at least that many here before she felt the onset of a phenomenon that gymnasts call “the twisties,” which leaves them unable to sense where they are when they twist. That uncertainty could lead them to change their form and result in potentially dangerous falls.

Biles qualified for the floor exercise final Monday and the balance beam final Tuesday, and USA Gymnastics said she will continue to be evaluated daily. “We remain in awe of Simone, who continues to handle this situation with courage and grace, and all of the athletes who have stepped up during these unexpected circumstances,” USA Gymnastics’ statement concluded.


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