HOUSTON – The news of Simone Biles withdrawing from team competition at the Tokyo Olympics sent shockwaves through Houston’s gymnastics community Tuesday.
“When I watched it, I was stunned like everyone else trying to figure out what was going on. Then kind of figured out as she walked into the back she was probably not going to finish,” said Dan Baker, owner of Stars Gymnastics Training Center in Katy.
Baker is also a member of the USA Gymnastics coaching team and just returned from 10 days in Tokyo training replacement athletes.
He says the unusual circumstances of these Olympics are weighing heavily on the athletes.
“No family. Usually, you go to the Olympics you walk around you can sightsee, get to interact with the other athletes, the whole experience. None of that’s happening. It’s hard what these athletes are going through and I don’t think anyone understands unless you’ve been over there,” Baker told KPRC 2.
Biles hinted in recent days on social media that she was feeling the pressure to lead the team to gold in Tokyo. Something Baker says is understandable.
“It’s no different than a quarterback having a bad day in the Super Bowl, it doesn’t define who they are. What defines who they are is the work they’ve put in up to this point and all the accomplishments they’ve had to this point. I’m extremely proud of Simone.”
It is unknown whether Biles will continue in the competition for individual events.