Simone Biles said her stunning withdrawal from Tuesday's Olympic women's gymnastics team competition wasn’t due to a physical injury, though emotionally, it was clear the pressure of the Olympics so far had taken a toll.
"Physically, I feel good, I'm in shape," she told Hoda Kotb exclusively on TODAY. "Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn't an easy feat, so we're just trying to take it one day at a time and we'll see."
Biles also said she wasn't certain she would compete in Thursday’s all-around competition, where she is the defending champion.
"We're going to take it day by day, and we're just gonna see," she said.
Simone Biles out of team competitionJuly 27, 202108:12
Later Tuesday, Biles tweeted a single gray heart emoji, and also retweeted a message by a YouTube star about prioritizing mental health.
She also retweeted a tweet from Hoda calling her "a class act."
"Someone said it best. @Simone_Biles already won. She is a class act," Hoda wrote. "Withdrew from team competition after vault... stayed and cheered on her teammates... got them chalk for their hands.. encouraged.. hugged them. She already won. Congrats on the silver medal!"
Biles told TODAY her teammates were "freaking out" the moment they learned she was pulling out, but she encouraged them to keep calm and fight.
"They were like crying, and I was like, 'You guys need to relax, you're going to be fine without me. Go out there, kick some butt just like you've done in training, and just lay it out on the floor and see what happens,'" Biles said.
USA Gymnastics said earlier Tuesday Biles' withdrawal was due to "a medical issue," and added that the 24-year-old star "will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions."
Biles walked off the floor with a trainer after competing in one rotation on vault, where she stumbled on the landing.
Teammate Jordan Chiles subbed in on the uneven bars and the balance beam, and Biles eventually returned to the arena wearing a sweatsuit and cheered for her teammates from the sidelines.
"Honestly at that moment in time I knew I had to put my feet into her shoes and show the world that no matter what happens, that we can all take a place of somebody who's also great," Chiles told Hoda about replacing Biles.
"I'm just really proud of all three us because we really did step up to the plate when we needed to, and I probably wouldn't have it any other way," teammate Suni Lee added. "It's really hard losing a teammate, especially someone so amazing."
Team USA rallied in Biles' absence, taking the silver behind the Russian Olympic Committee, which beat the Americans by 3.432 points. It was the U.S. team's first loss in a global team competition since 2010. Britain won the bronze medal.
"I'm OK, just super frustrated of how the night played out, but super proud of these girls that stepped up and did what they needed to do and now we're Olympic silver medalists, so it's something that we'll cherish forever," Biles said. "We hope America still loves us."
Teammate Grace McCallum said the squad "stepped up and showed people what we were made of."
"I just knew that we needed to have a really good day and we all did," McCallum said.
Biles' withdrawal followed uncharacteristic struggles during the qualifying rounds on Sunday for the most decorated women's gymnast of all time.
"It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it," Biles wrote on Instagram after the qualifying round. "I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The olympics is no joke! BUT I’m happy my family was able to be with me virtually, they mean the world to me!"