Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan – July 27, 2021. Simone Biles of the United States in action on the vault. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson
Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 27, 2021. Naomi Osaka of Japan walks off after losing her third round match against Marketa Vondrousova of Czech Republic REUTERS/Mike Segar
Tuesday saw two shocking early exits at the 2021 Olympics: Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka was upset in the third round of the tennis tournament, and United States gymnastics star Simone Biles withdrew from the team final during the first rotation.
After a bit of a wobbly landing on the vault, she met with the U.S. team doctor before heading backstage for a few moments. When she came back to the floor, she hugged her teammates, took off her bar grips and put on a sweatsuit. USA Gymnastics described the situation as a “medical issue.”
Biles later said she wasn’t in the right headspace to compete. “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.”
The rest of the team, comprised of Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles hung around the top of the standings for the rest of the three rotations. However, the team representing the Russia Olympic Committee secured the gold, its first since the 1992 Barcelona Games. The U.S. took the silver.
Meanwhile, Osaka said she is “disappointed” after her 6-1, 6-4 loss to former French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.
“I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,” Osaka said.
She went on to say she felt the high expectations placed on her, with her being the highest-paid female athlete in the world and the host country’s poster girl for the Games.
“I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this,” Osaka said. “I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in the Olympics before and for the first year (it) was a bit much,” Osaka said.
Osaka won’t leave the Olympics empty-handed, as she already experienced “undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life” when she lit the torch at the opening ceremony.