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Quad Cities gym reacts to Simone Biles team finals withdrawal

TV6 spoke with one Quad Cities gym about the role mental focus plays in the sport and their reaction to the surprising news.
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles withdrew from the women’s gymnastic team finals on Tuesday.

TV6 spoke with one Quad Cities gym about the role mental focus plays in the sport and their reaction to the surprising news.

“Gymnastics won’t be the easiest sport. It’ll actually be quite strenuous on the body, and mentally taxing,” Zach Veith said, the director and coach at the YMCA Gymnastics and Ninja Zone at the TBK Sports Complex in Bettendorf. “You have to be sharp in the head. You have to focus. You have to be safe. You have to be conscious of your surroundings and have to learn how to control your body.”

Veith has been following the Olympics and as the news of Biles’ withdrawal spread, he said he expected the unexpected.

“This world is full of surprises, as we know. If you’ve been watching other events, especially the debut sports like skateboarding, there [were] some major upsets. So with gymnastics, I mean, when someone’s riding that pressure of being the greatest of all time, it’s not a big surprise, if they don’t deliver. I mean, she’s done enough in the past. What is this event really?” he said.

Biles cited her mental health as a factor in the withdrawal and decided to sit out and cheer on her teammates.

“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 ok sometimes to sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself. It shows how strong a person and competitor you really are, rather than just battle through it,” Biles said in a press conference Tuesday.

In the meantime, Veith said he’s looking forward to keeping up with the men’s and women’s Olympic gymnastics teams.

“If you’ve never watch men’s gymnastics, it is incredible. They stick almost everything and they’re doing flips beyond belief. The women I’m sure will take it. Maybe not the team, but as far as individuals we’ll be stacking up the metals pretty easily. I hope,” he said.

Biles is scheduled to compete on Thursday in the individual all-around competition.

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