Simone Biles and the rest of the USA Gymnastics were not at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremonies with some of their U.S. colleagues on Friday night.
Basketball star Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez were the flag bearers during the parade of nations, but Biles and the rest of the team were absent from the event. The decorated Olympian explained why the team was absent in an Instagram post.
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Biles first mentioned that coronavirus was a concern.
“The amount of standing is crazy,” she responded in a Q&A Instagram post. “USA is usually at the end as well because alphabetical.”
She added: “We start the following day. So it wouldn’t be smart.
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“We’ve actually never attended an opening I believe.”
Meredith Yeoman, a USA Gymnastics spokesperson, told the New York Times, the team was “focused on preparation.”
The U.S. female gymnastics squad had a coronavirus scare earlier in the week when alternate Kara Eaker tested positive for the virus. The team then moved from the Olympic Village to a hotel in order to keep from possible coronavirus exposure.
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“It was also a decision that we all made together, we know it isn’t ideal for the Olympic experience but nothing is ideal during a pandemic,” coach Cecile Landi said on Sunday. “We feel like we can control the athletes and our safety better in a hotel setting!”