Just hours after news broke that gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the team gymnastics competition at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, her Dancing with the Stars partner, Sasha Farber, spoke out. The pro dancer helped Simone choreograph her Olympic floor routine.
“I feel so much love for her. It was weird because I couldn’t believe it at first, but at the same time, I’ve never been to an Olympics, so I don’t know [what it’s like],” Farber told Entertainment Tonight. “The pressure must be out of this world. Not only that, she’s literally holding all of America on her shoulders.”
“For this 24-year-old to be in that position … she is a phenomenal gymnast, everyone knows. But it just proves that you don’t know what’s going on inside of the other person sometimes, no matter how strong they look,” he continued. “So I really feel for her, but I know she’s going to get through this.”
“I wish her family, her mom and dad could be there”
Sasha notes that Simone’s family always accompanied her to the Olympics and were tremendous support. But COVID-19 protocols kept them away this time.
“It must be so hard. I wish her family, her mom and dad, could be there [in Tokyo], because I know she’s very close with them, to give them a hug,” he said. “Her family goes to every competition. They have been to every Olympics, and this is the first time her family was not there … that’s a big thing.”
Simone and Sasha competed on Dancing with the Stars season 24, Spring 2017. The pair finished in fourth place. He noted to ET what a hard worker she is.
“She is such a hard worker”
“But I know that all of America is definitely behind her. She is such a hard worker,” he added. “I remember being in the gym with her, we had so much fun. But this just proves she’s human.”
Other than a few cranks, Simone has received a ton of support from across the US.
“It must be so much pressure and she is the star of the team. I mean, there is always a camera in front of her. Even when she’s just waiting for events, there’s a camera there,” Farber shared. “I’m just so happy reading everything and seeing how much America is behind her.”
Simone chose Sasha to choreograph her floor routine to “spice it up”
In Episode 5 of Simone’s Facebook Watch docuseries, “Simone vs Herself” the gymnast explained why she enlisted Sasha to help choreograph her routines.
“Usually, I have a different choreographer, but this year I feel like we needed to be a little bit different — spice it up,” Simone said. “Even whenever I worked with Sasha on Dancing with the Stars, we always said, ‘Oh my gosh, if we could do a floor routine, how cool would that be?'”
Sasha noted, “I’m really excited because she’s really moving now,” he added, “For the first day, to be where she is already, I can’t wait to see what it’s like in months to come.”
“There’s a very sassy side to Simone that I’m really excited for people to see,” Sasha said, added, “She moves like a dancer. No one’s just seen that yet.”
It’s Simone Biles GOAT SZN pic.twitter.com/pZsWrZWJnN
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) July 26, 2021
After Sasha left the competition, the team went on to win silver
Sasha left the competition floor with the Team USA medical trainer after her first rotation on the vault. She was replaced by alternate Jordan Chiles, and the team went on to win silver, behind the Russian Olympic Committee.
“No injury, thankfully. That’s why I took a step back, because I didn’t want to do something silly out there and get injured,” she told reporters in a press conference. “I thought it was best if these girls took over and did the rest of the job, which they absolutely did. They’re Olympic silver medalists now and they should be really proud of themselves for how well they did last minute having to go in.”
“It’s been really stressful this Olympic Games”
“It’s been really stressful this Olympic Games,” she continued. “I think, just as a whole, not having an audience, there are a lot of different variables going into it. It’s been a long week, it’s been a long Olympic process, it’s been a long year … I think we’re just a little too stressed out, but we should be out here having fun and sometimes that’s not the case. I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a backseat, work on my mindfulness and I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job. I didn’t want to risk the team a medal.”
Later, she revealed to the Today show that she didn’t have a physical problem.
“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” she explained. “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”
“We’re going to take it day by day and we’re just gonna see,” she added, when asked whether she’ll return to competition for the all-around events on Thursday.
UPDATE: Simone has withdrawn from Thursday’s all around competition as well. USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Wednesday that the 24-year-old is opting to not compete. The organization said Simone will be evaluated daily before deciding if she will participate in next week’s individual events.