Tokyo Olympics Recap: Biles put 'mental health first' with withdrawal, Osaka suffers shock defeat

By Sports Desk July 27, 2021

Simone Biles said she had put her "mental health first" after missing out on adding a fifth Olympic gold medal to her collection following an early withdrawal from the women’s team final.

The 24-year-old gymnastics icon revealed she was “dealing with things internally” after a disappointing performance on the vault.

Biles posted the lowest score of the first rotation on Tuesday as she landed awkwardly after failing to execute an Amanar, while only completing a Yurchenko 1.5 twist.

After she subsequently withdrew, Team USA had to settle for a silver medal behind the Russian Olympic Committee while Great Britain completed the podium.

Biles admitted that she was "fighting demons", explaining: "I just don't trust myself as much as I used to. I don't know if it's age. I'm a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics. I feel like I'm also not having as much fun."

She added: "I say, 'put mental health first'. Because if you don't, you won't enjoy sport and won't succeed as much as you want to.

"So it's okay sometimes to sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself, because it shows how strong a competitor and person that you really are, rather than just battling through it."


OSAKA STUNNED

The big names continue to tumble in the women’s singles tennis event, with second seed Naomi Osaka defeated in straight sets.

The home favourite, who lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday, was denied a place in the quarter-finals after being ousted 6-1 6-4 by world number 42 Marketa Vondrousova.

This event marked Osaka’s first competitive tennis in two months since her early withdrawal from the French Open at the end of May, citing mental health issues.

The world number two is the latest of the big names to fall at the Tokyo Games, with top seed Ash Barty and third seed Aryna Sabalenka also suffering early exits.

"Of course, it's one of the biggest wins of my career," Vondrousova said. "Naomi is a great player, so I knew it would be a tough match. 

“I'm very happy with my play. I played amazingly in the first set, and then the second set was really tough. I'm just happy to be through."

 


ARGENTINA RECOVER TO SEE OFF SPRINGBOKS

Argentina recovered from a dreadful start to beat South Africa and book their place in the rugby seven semi-finals.

Trailing 7-0 after just under two minutes, the Pumas were then reduced to six men when Gaston Revol - who was reduced to tears - was shown a straight red card.

Nevertheless, they demonstrated tremendous resilience and character before eventually running out 19-14 winners.

Argentina will play Fiji in the last four after the reigning Olympic champions swept Australia aside 19-0.

Great Britain stormed back from 21-0 down to beat the USA, scoring four tries to secure a dramatic 26-21 victory.

Team GB will play New Zealand, who eased to a 21-10 success over Canada.

Related items

  • Hurkacz ends Murray's Metz run, Carreno Busta to meet Monfils Hurkacz ends Murray's Metz run, Carreno Busta to meet Monfils

    Hubert Hurkacz's fine season continued as he ended Andy Murray's run at the Moselle Open on Friday.

    Top seed Hurkacz beat Daniil Medvedev and Roger Federer on the way to the semi-finals at Wimbledon, and previously beat Murray in Cincinnati.

    Hurkacz is ranked 13th in the world and is pushing for a place at the ATP Tour Finals, and he edged closer to a fourth career title by defeating Murray again in Metz.

    The 24-year-old prevailed 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 over the former world number one, who was playing in his first ATP Tour quarter-final of the year.

    "Andy is an unbelievable competitor, he has achieved so much throughout his career," Hurkacz said. "He is coming back from a tough injury and playing at a very high level, so he is amazing and you can be inspired by his results."

    Next up for Hurkacz is Peter Gojowczyk, who overcame Marcos Giron 3-6 6-1 6-3 and is backing up his recent US Open run in strong fashion.

    The other last-four match will take place between French home favourite and third seed Gael Monfils, who has reached his first tour semi-final since February last year, and Pablo Carreno Busta.

    Carreno Busta, the Spanish second seed, needed three sets to beat Holger Rune, while Monfils had an easier time of it against Nikoloz Basilashvili, winning 6-3 6-3.

    At the Astana Open, second seed Alexander Bublik beat Carlos Taberner 6-3 6-4, as he hunts a first singles title.

    A crowd favourite in Kazakhstan, whom he has represented since 2016, Russian-born Bublik faces a semi-final against Soonwoo Kwon, who got past Laslo Djere.

    Fifth seed John Millman succumbed to fellow Australian James Duckworth, who will face Ilya Ivashka for a place in the final.

  • Olympic champion Bencic ousted by Kontaveit at Ostrava Open Olympic champion Bencic ousted by Kontaveit at Ostrava Open

    Anett Kontaveit beat Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and will face home favourite Petra Kvitova for a place in the Ostrava Open final.

    Estonian Kontaveit, ranked 30th in the world, claimed her fourth top-20 win of the season as she prevailed 6-4 6-3 on Friday.

    Kontaveit also defeated Bencic in the 2020 Australian Open, meaning she is 2-0 in their head-to-head rivalry.

    Czech left-hander Kvitova awaits in the last four, after the second seed defeated Bencic's Swiss compatriot Jil Teichmann 6-4 6-4.

    Teichmann beat Kvitova in their only previous meeting, but the world number 10 had too much on this occasion, along with the backing of the crowd to boot as she chases a 29th singles title of her career.

    The other semi-final will see top seed Iga Swiatek face Maria Sakkari.

    Last year's French Open winner Swiatek reached her first semi-final since May – when she landed the prestigious title in Rome – by overcoming Elena Rybakina 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

    Sakkari, meanwhile, ended Tereza Martincova's hopes in straight sets.

    Greek star Sakkari ended Swiatek's reign as Roland Garros champion in June, beating the Polish 20-year-old in the quarter-finals in Paris.

  • Joshua v Usyk: AJ aims to keep it simple as Fury looms large over capital clash Joshua v Usyk: AJ aims to keep it simple as Fury looms large over capital clash

    Anthony Joshua has no intention of making things "too complicated" when he defends his world heavyweight titles against the unbeaten Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday.  

    The reigning IBF, WBA and WBO champion looked in excellent condition as he weighed in on Friday, tipping the scales at 240 pounds – a fraction lighter than for his previous fight, against Kubrat Pulev, at the end of 2020.

    Joshua was always going to have a height and weight advantage coming into an intriguing contest at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend, even if Usyk did come in at a career-high 221.25 pounds.

    It is just a third outing at heavyweight for the Ukrainian, who was previously the undisputed champion at cruiserweight before moving up. His boxing abilities should not be doubted, considering his achievements as an amateur as well, but after taking on Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora previously, he is about to jump back in at the deep end nearly a year on from his last bout.

    The physical differences further increase the intrigue over how each man will approach the occasion, as two fighters who struck gold at the London Olympics in 2012 meet in the English capital.

    "It's called a boxing match for a reason. I love the sweet science. I will display my boxing skills, but I won't make it too complicated in there," Joshua said at the final news conference.

    This, of course, was not the fight the 31-year-old had expected to be next on his agenda. A deal was in place to take on Tyson Fury to reveal a new undisputed champion, but the holder of the WBC title has been ordered to take on Deontay Wilder for a third time instead.

    That trilogy bout takes place on October 9 in Las Vegas, a hurdle Fury will likely have to clear if we are to see the all-British showdown that has been teased for too long, amid lengthy negotiations, social media sparring and arbitration hearings.

    Before then, though, Joshua must focus on the task at hand. Usyk, the mandatory challenger for the WBO strap, is not an opponent to be taken lightly either, even if he weighed considerably less on the scales.

    The result is all that matters for Joshua, who knows just what is at stake. Unlike his opponent, Usyk has little to lose – apart from that unblemished record in the pros – and everything to gain, having received the chance to spring the type of surprise that would seismically alter the heavyweight landscape.

    The pair took part in a tense head-to-head showdown after weighing in, though they did share a handshake and a smile before parting ways. Respectful during the build-up, it will be down to business when they next come face to face with each other.

    RECENT HISTORY

    Joshua finished an otherwise quiet 2020 in style, stopping the ever-willing but overmatched Pulev inside nine rounds in his solitary outing during the year. A small number of fans were present inside Wembley Arena amid the coronavirus pandemic, but there will be far more in attendance at the impressive home of Spurs this weekend.

    That Pulev bout came just over a year after Joshua's revenge mission against Andy Ruiz Jr, when he boxed intelligently to regain the titles he had lost against the same opponent midway through 2019 in a stunning upset on his American debut.

    As for Usyk, he came through a gruelling physical test against Chisora, winning their October 2020 meeting by unanimous decision on the scorecards.

    Chisora, who was left "gutted" by the final verdict, was asked in the aftermath if he felt his opponent had shown him enough to be able to beat one of the big names in the division, to which he replied: "No, because in the heavyweight game, you have to fight, not box."

    TALE OF THE TAPE 

    ANTHONY JOSHUA

    Age: 31
    Height: 6ft 6ins (198cm)
    Weight: 240lbs
    Reach: 82ins
    Professional record: 24-1 (22 KOs)
    Major career titles: IBF, WBA, WBO heavyweight

    OLEKSANDR USYK

    Age: 34
    Height: 6ft 3ins (191cm) 
    Weight: 221.25lbs
    Reach: 78ins  
    Professional record: 18-0 (13 KOs) 
    Major career titles: IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO cruiserweight

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.