Simone Biles has forfeited at least two opportunities for a medal, after withdrawing from two gymnastics finals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, citing mental health concerns.
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Biles, 24, has received an outpouring of support from fellow athletes, celebrities, and the public following announcements that she had pulled out of Tuesday’s women’s team final and Thursday’s all-round final.
And apart from stepping away from anticipated medal glory at the podium, the most decorated gymnast in history is also taking a financial hit, as she’ll no longer qualify for the bonuses that come with landing among the top three.
According to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s (USOPC) website, U.S. Olympians earn $37,500 for each gold medal at the 2020 Olympics, $22,500 for a silver medal and $15,000 for a bronze medal.
With the pot split evenly for team sports, Biles missed out on potentially earning $9,375, had her continued participation propelled the team to a gold on Tuesday. The team landed a silver medal, with the Russia Olympic Committee winning gold.
Getting a quarter of the $22,500 pot for a silver medal, Biles should pocket $5,625 for her pre-withdrawal efforts with her teammates.
Assuming Biles was successful on Thursday in defending the all-round gold she scooped at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, the total potentially missed out on at the pair of events already stands at $46,875 for one team gold and one individual gold, and $43,125 for one team silver and one individual gold.
Biles is still scheduled to compete in the finals for vault and uneven bars on Sunday, floor on Monday, and beam on Tuesday. A final decision on whether she will participate in those events has yet to be announced.
USA Gymnastics said in a statement: “Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals.
“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her wellbeing. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”
Biles—who has her own line of gymnastic equipment, as well as endorsement deals with Nike, Hershey’s and Kellogg’s—scored her lowest Olympic vault score before withdrawing from the team final on Tuesday.
“After the performance I did, I just didn’t want to go on,” the Ohio-born star later said. “I have to focus on my mental health. I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now.
“We have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do. I don’t trust myself as much anymore. Maybe it’s getting older.
“There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world. We’re not just athletes. We’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back.”