Aly Raisman is reacting to the news that Simone Biles unexpectedly pulled out of the all-around women’s gymnastics final at the Tokyo Olympics.
Raisman, 27, a former Team USA gymnast who won three Olympic gold medals, said she feels “sick to her stomach” about Biles’ sudden departure.
“It’s horrible,” Raisman said in an interview on TODAY. “I know that all of these athletes dream of this moment for their whole entire lives, and so I’m just completely devastated. I am obviously so worried and just hoping that Simone is OK.”
“I also am just thinking about the mental impact that this has to have on Simone,” she continued. “It’s just so much pressure, and I’ve been watching how much pressure has been on her in the months leading up to the Games, and it’s just devastating. I feel horrible.”
Biles, 24, dropped out of the women’s team final Tuesday after struggling to stick a landing during her opening vault.
"Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue," USA Gymnastics said in a statement. "She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions."
In the meantime, Raisman said she is “praying” that Biles will be able to compete in the individual all-around final later this week.
“I think that Simone is the biggest story going into the Olympics, so this is just — it’s really, really devastating,” Raisman said. “But I think it’s also just really important to think about how much pressure has been on her, and there’s only so much that someone can take. She’s human, and I think sometimes people forget that. And Simone, just like everyone else, is doing the best that she can.”
At the Tokyo Olympics, the bar has been set high for Biles, who is the most decorated gymnast of all time. She won four gold medals and a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, making history as the first female U.S. gymnast to win four gold medals during one Olympics.
With the world’s eyes on Biles during the Tokyo Games, Raisman said her former teammate is facing “more pressure than any other gymnast I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.”
Biles and Raisman were teammates during the 2016 Games in Rio. Raisman said that while she does not know exactly what led to Biles dropping out of the all-around final today, she said that with such difficult routines, mistakes do happen because even superstar athletes like Biles are only human.
“I don’t know if she got lost in the air, or I don’t know if she got injured before and wasn’t able to complete the twist. I’m sure whenever she’s ready, she’ll tell us,” Raisman said. “But if she did get lost in the air, I do want to say that that is actually very common.”
Raisman also shared some mishaps she experienced during her years of competing.
“Sometimes if you’re trying to do three twists on floor, sometimes you might just breathe the wrong way, or when you’re taking off, the lights from the ceiling get into your eye and you just get confused,” she said. “I think people forget when we’re doing gymnastics, the stuff we’re doing is so difficult, and I know someone like Simone makes it look so easy, but I think people forget sometimes we’re human and sometimes we get confused.”