Great Britain

Gymnast Simone Biles thanks fans in passionate message after pulling out of Tokyo 2020 event to focus on mental health

GYMNAST Simone Biles has thanked fans for their support after she withdrew from the individual all-around final at Tokyo 2020.

The 24-year-old pulled out of Tuesday's team final and then decided against defending her women's individual all-around gold on today to focus on her mental health.

The sport’s most dominant star and biggest name admitted she is struggling to cope with the weight of expectation.

Now Biles has taken to Twitter to post a passionate message to her supporters and to thank them.

Accompanied with a love heart emoji, she wrote: “The outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.”

Biles, the four-time gold medalist and stand-out global star in Rio in 2016,  pulled out of the team final as the US suffered a shock defeat at the hands of the Russians on Tuesday.

She withdrew after botching her vault in the opening round of the final after calling the last five years "a long journey."

Biles later told the BBC she would be back Thursday for the individual events after she became a doubt for the rest of the Tokyo Games but then opted to pull-out.

That announcement was controversially questioned by Piers Morgan as he questioned Biles' mental health motives following the US gymnast's withdrawal.

Biles, who had been targeting six gold medals in Tokyo, had said she returned to the Olympics to be a voice for abuse survivors in the wake of Larry Nassar's crimes.

The disgraced sports doctor sexually assaulted female athletes in a scandal that turned USA Gymnastics upside down.

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She told NBC in April: “I just feel like everything that happened, I had to come back to the sport to be a voice, to have change happen.

“If there weren't a remaining survivor in the sport they would've just brushed it to the side.”

Biles failed to complete her two-and-half twist vault and landed poorly, leaving suspicions of an injured ankle - only for American team sources to suggest that she left the competition due to mental health issues.

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Simone Biles out of individual Tokyo 2020 event due to mental health issues

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