Jul 27, 2021

Simone Biles Press Conference Transcript after Withdrawing from Women’s Gymnastics Final

RevBlogTranscriptsSimone Biles Press Conference Transcript after Withdrawing from Women’s Gymnastics Final

American gymnast Simone Biles held a press conference on July 27, 2021 after pulling out of the women’s gymnastics final at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Read the full transcript here.

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Simone Biles: (00:00)
I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a back seat, work on my mindfulness. And I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job and I didn’t want to risk the team a medal for kind of my screw ups because they’ve worked way too hard for that. So I just decided that those girls need to go in and do the rest of the competition.

Speaker 2: (00:21)
The question to your teammates, what was your feelings? How was the reaction? Was it a shock when you realized that your teammate could not continue the competition?

Jordan Chiles: (00:34)
It was definitely something that was unexpected. We were kind of emotional when we found out that she wasn’t going to continue. And we all just had to put our minds in a great position because at the end of the day, we were just out there to show what we needed to show. And we went up and did what we did. And I’m just very proud that we were able to do that.

Suni Lee: (01:03)
Yeah, there was definitely a lot of emotions going through all of our heads, but I’m really proud that we were able to step up to the plate and do what we needed to do. It’s very hard to lose a teammate, especially at the Olympic games. So I was really proud of all of us because we were going through so much. We were very stressed, put a lot of pressure on ourselves, but we ended up coming back.

Grace McCallum: (01:23)
Yeah. I mean, I couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of these girls. They’ve worked so, so hard for this and it really just showed how hard we’ve been training and that we can do it no matter what and we fought till the end.

Speaker 2: (01:41)
Questions from the audience. Yes, gentlemen. Please use the microphone on your back. For the translation. No. Yes. This one.

Speaker 6: (01:55)
Simone, I wanted to ask you just a follow up. And I know these are personal issues you’re talking about. If you could sort of tell us, was there any injury? That was one thing we want to know. And if you can elaborate on maybe the stress you’ve been feeling. We all know that when you’re in the spotlight, we can imagine what it’s like.

Simone Biles: (02:11)
Right. Sorry. No. No injury, thankfully. And that’s why I took a step back because I didn’t want to do something silly out there and get injured. So I thought it was best if these girls took over and did the rest of the job, which they absolutely did. They’re Olympic silver medalists now. And they should be really proud of themselves for how well they did last minute having to go in. And it’s been really stressful, this Olympic games, I think just as a whole, not having an audience. There are a lot of different variables going into it. It’s been a long week. It’s been a long Olympic process. It’s been a long year. So just a lot of different variables. And I think we’re just a little bit too stressed out, but we should be out here having fun. And sometimes that’s not the case.

Simone Biles: (03:02)
Yeah. We’re going to take it a day at a time. I know tomorrow that we have a half day or at least the morning off. So it’ll be a good mental rest. And so we’ll take it from there.

Speaker 2: (03:14)
More questions, please. Who has a question over there? Translation. Thank you.

Speaker 7: (03:24)
Hey Simone. Can you talk about the technical part of that vault you tried? What happened and what were you attempting and what happened?

Simone Biles: (03:32)
So I was trying a two and a half. And I ended up doing a one and a half, just got a little bit lost in the air, which is really unfortunate, especially to have a score like that go up there for the team. I feel like I robbed them of a couple of tenths and we could have been a little bit higher in the rankings. But yeah, I was trying a two and a half, ended up doing a one and a half, which was definitely not my best work. So it’s just something we have to go in the gym and work on.

Speaker 2: (04:00)
Yes, please. Ladies first. Ladies first.

Speaker 8: (04:13)
For Suni, Grace, and Jordan, you guys were really thrust into positions, some of them apparatus you weren’t expecting to be on tonight. Are there things that stood out to you where you felt like, okay, I was able to jump in and do well? And Simone, sort of similar thing. Where did you see them sort of had those points where it was reassuring to you that they were okay with without you in there?

Simone Biles: (04:35)
Well, personally I knew they’d be okay without me just watching them train. They’re a couple of the strongest competitors I know. Their heads are always on straight and they have a lot of dedication and courage. So I knew they were going to be just fine. So I wasn’t worried. I know they were a little bit worried going in and emotions were all over the place. But I think they just needed reassurance that they were going to be okay. And look. They were. They did it without me. And they’re Olympic silver medalists.

Suni Lee: (05:00)
Yeah. It was very emotional. But I feel like in that moment, we all knew that we needed to come together as a team and kind of build that leadership up together because we didn’t have Simone in that moment. Obviously she came back out right after and gave us a pep talk, which is very helpful because we probably wouldn’t have got through it without her. But yeah, I’m really proud of all of us because we ended up doing what we needed to do.

Grace McCallum: (05:23)
Yeah. I’m really proud of everybody for really stepping up. I mean, it’s really hard to lose the best in the world. And we definitely felt a little more stressed, but I’m really proud of how we did. And I think we did amazing. We really fought under the circumstances.

Jordan Chiles: (05:43)
Like everybody else said, yeah, we went out there. We did what we did. I mean, at the end of the day, I was only thinking that I was doing two events, but being able to put my feet in huge shoes at the end of the day is definitely a huge thing because no matter what, we’re a team and we did this and we knew what we had to do.

Simone Biles: (06:01)
And that’s why we have teammates because if somebody is feeling down, you have to step up and they did just that. So kudos to them.

Jordan Chiles: (06:09)
No kudos to you.

Speaker 9: (06:10)
Simone, [inaudible 00:06:10] the timeline right here about specifically what happened. You come off, you talked to Marcia for a little bit, right? I’m trying to figure out, was it you said they went back over there. You said they wouldn’t let me go back out there, but did you go to them? Did you tell them, “Hey, I can’t do this,” or did they tell you, maybe you should take a break? Or how did it specifically go?

Simone Biles: (06:33)
So I was like, “I think the girls need to do the rest of the competition without me.” And they were like, “I promise you, you’re fine. We watched you warm up.” And I said, “No, I know I’m going to be fine, but I can’t risk a medal for the team. So I need to call it.” And you usually don’t hear me say things like that because I’ll usually persevere and push through things, but not to cost the team a medal. So they were like, “Okay, well, if Simone says this then we need to take it pretty serious.” And so I had the correct people around me to do that.

Speaker 9: (07:06)
Was that the first time? So this wasn’t the first time you’d been in a competition and were like, “Man, I’m not sure I’m in this today.”

Simone Biles: (07:12)
Yes. Today has been really stressful. We had a workout this morning. It went okay. And then just that five and a half hour wait or something. I was just shaking, could barely nap. I’ve just never felt like this going into a competition before. And I tried to go out here and have fun. And warm up in the back went a little bit better. But then once I came out here, I was like, “No, mental is not there. So I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.”

Speaker 10: (07:41)
Simone, I’m just interested in your choice of words, because she keeps saying, “They’re Olympic silver medalists,” but you’re part of the team. While it takes a lot of courage to be able to-

Simone Biles: (07:50)
I didn’t do my job. They came out and they stepped up and they did what they needed to do and more, especially last minute. Suni didn’t even get to warm up her floor passes until the 30 second touch. So this medal is all of them and the coaches. And it has nothing to do with me because they did it without me.

Jordan Chiles: (08:08)
But at the end of the day we did though. We really did. Yeah, this is medal is definitely for her because if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t be here where we are right now. We wouldn’t be silver Olympic medalists because of who she is as a person. So this all… Kudos to you, girly. This is all for you. Yes, we did this. Just going to battle back and forth. But really, you’re part of this team and you deserve it, too.

Simone Biles: (08:42)
Thank you.

Speaker 10: (08:43)
I just wanted… That was basically my point was that it takes a lot of mental strength and courage to know when you’re in a good place, when you’re not in a good place. And I just wanted to pick up on that and just say that there’s a lot of girls out there. Yes, Olympics is about physical sport. It’s also about mental and I think you did a lot for that movement tonight.

Simone Biles: (08:59)
Thank you.

Speaker 11: (09:02)
I have a question for Sunisa Lee. You’re equal to Nina Derwael with a very high score on the uneven bars. How do you see the rivalry for the final Sunday with her?

Suni Lee: (09:16)
She’s definitely one of my biggest competitors on bars, but at the end of the day, it just depends on who does the bar routine better that day. So I don’t think there’s much of a rivalry there. We’re still-

Simone Biles: (09:26)
It’s a friendly competition I feel like.

Suni Lee: (09:29)
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think it just depends on who does better that day because we do have the same start value. So yeah.

Simone Biles: (09:36)
And you have to support all of your competitors so that you go in with a healthy mind and not trying to compete against each other because then pitting people against each other, it just gets a little bit harder. So I think if she just focuses on herself and her bar routine, she should be fine as well as Nina.

Suni Lee: (09:51)

Speaker 11: (09:51)
What do you think will be decided on Sunday?

Simone Biles: (09:56)
You guys are just going to have to wait and see the show. [crosstalk 00:09:58] in the lineup.

Speaker 11: (09:57)
Thank you.

Speaker 12: (10:07)
Hi. Simone, can you talk a little bit about how Naomi Osaka inspired you and do you have a message for any of the athletes who are struggling with mental health issues?

Simone Biles: (10:16)
Yeah, I say put mental health first because if you don’t, then you’re not going to enjoy your sport and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to. So it’s okay sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself because it shows how strong of a competitor and person that you really are rather than just battle through it.

Speaker 13: (10:37)
Simone the documentary you’ve been doing has given you a chance to be a little… The documentary you’ve been doing has given you a chance to be a little bit more self-introspective about yourself. Did that give you the understanding and the courage perhaps to do what you did this evening?

Simone Biles: (10:54)
Yes and no, because I’m in the docu-series that I’m filming, I’m have an incredible team. I love everybody who I work with and the people around me, but it’s just like at the end of the day, we’re putting content out. So I don’t want to put anything out there that people wouldn’t view as nice. So I didn’t want to go out here and kind of end that series and that chapter on the note that we did. But it could be a turnaround for the better. We’re just going to have to see, but hopefully I’ll get back out there and compete a couple more events and we’ll see.

Speaker 7: (11:30)
Suni, this question about your bar routine. You had the highest score of the night and I know you’ve worked really hard on it. Were you happy with the performance? And can you describe to us what you were feeling when you…

Suni Lee: (11:46)
Going up to perform that bar routine was the most pressure I’ve ever felt in my life. Simone was gone. So and being last is always the hardest thing. So when I was going up to do that bar routine, I just told myself to do what I normally do and just swing because if I put all that pressure on myself, I was just going to… I probably would’ve fallen because I was in my head. But I just try not to think about the fact that Simone wasn’t competing or anything else, because that’s really all bars is about. It’s very mental. So I’m really proud of myself.

Jordan Chiles: (12:19)
Girl, tell me about it.

Speaker 14: (12:22)
You talked about how Simone is your leader on this team. And I’m wondering what it was like in that moment when you realized that at least in the arena, you, as the rest of the team, were going to have to lead and at least performing in that way. What was that mindset like?

Suni Lee: (12:38)
It was really hard. Right after she left, I kind of called Jordan and Grace over and I was just like, “Okay guys, we got this. Just do what we normally do. Nothing more, nothing less. We can go out there and show the world what we came here to do because I don’t know.” It feels-

Jordan Chiles: (12:55)
We’re fighters. That’s what we are. Literally we’re fighters. We fought through this whole competition as a team and not as individuals. And that’s what we needed. And like Suni was saying, at the end of the day, no matter what happened, we were just proud that we were able to do what we’re doing with losing somebody that’s so great. So yeah.

Speaker 14: (13:19)
Also a lot of people talk about not putting medaling first or not putting a gold medal as the only thing. You feel like beyond that cliche, that this was really put into practice today?

Suni Lee: (13:31)
Yeah. I kind of told them that when we were all standing there together. I was like, “Don’t even focus on the scoreboard because at that it’s not even important right now. We lost a teammate, so we just really needed to come together as a team and do what we were supposed to do.”

Jordan Chiles: (13:44)
Yeah. It’s not really about the scoring. It’s not really about the medals. Yes, I understand a lot of people are probably going to say something, but at the end of the day, we are who we are as people. And we came together and did our job when we needed to. And that’s all that really matters.

Speaker 2: (14:02)
Question, please.

Speaker 15: (14:03)
Hi. You’ve talked about finding that mindfulness and you mentioned tomorrow, it’s going to be a bit of a break for you, Simone, and for the team. What does finding that mindfulness look like in practice? And I don’t want to be silly, but is it scrolling TikTok on your phone in the morning or having a cup of coffee?

Simone Biles: (14:18)
So usually you practice mindfulness. We’ll have the morning off. So that’s a great start because you can’t do it in practice because then you’re really focused in and tuned in on practice. So it starts from outside the gym, however we want to relax and we’ll do that. Hopefully get some fresh air and we’ll just see.

Jordan Chiles: (14:35)
TikToks definitely do help though.

Speaker 15: (14:38)
I agree.

Jordan Chiles: (14:39)
I do have to say they do help. I mean, I don’t know. Our TikToks are pretty good. Yeah. I don’t know if you all seen the last ones we’ve been doing, but they’re pretty funny. We might do one today. Who knows.

Grace McCallum: (14:51)
It keeps your mind off things.

Jordan Chiles: (14:52)
It does. It does. Yeah. Because people are just so funny on that thing. I’m just like why? You just sit in your room and watch your cat fall from the ceiling. Like what? That makes no sense.

Speaker 2: (15:04)
Okay, ladies, it was a pleasure to have you here and all the best for your future.

Gymnastics team: (15:08)
Thank you.

Simone Biles: (15:09)
Thank you, guys.

Speaker 16: (15:20)
Hey, thanks for watching. If you liked this video, check out these other videos from USA Today to stay up to date with all the latest news.

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