Hoda Kotb Chokes Up Over Simone Biles Olympic Withdrawal: It’s Hard for the US Team Without Their ‘Heart and Soul’


Simone Biles pulled out of the Team Gymnastics event at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. Early reports from a coach stated Biles withdrew for a “mental issue,” while USA Gymnastics later released a statement on Twitter calling it a “medical issue.”

NBC anchor Hoda Kotb was in Tokyo, covering the event for Today, and was visibly upset as she discussed the breaking news of Biles withdrawing from competition.

“We just hope that Team USA can rise to the occasion. It’s hard to be there without your heart and soul, but I know these girls and I know they’re tough and we’ve watched them so,” Kotb said as she took a deep breath to gain her composure. “We’ll cheer them on, we’ll see what happens.”

In 2018, Kotb conducted a gut-wrenching interview with Biles, shortly after disgraced doctor Larry Nassar received a sentence of 40 to 175 years in Michigan State prison. Nassar, formerly the US women’s national gymnastics team doctor, sexually assaulted hundreds of young women and girls.

“He can’t hurt you anymore,” Kotb told Biles at one point during the 2018 interview, who responded through tears: “No, he can not.”

After Biles withdrew from competition Tuesday, Kotb showed support for Team USA from the sidelines. “Turn it out for Simone,” she yelled. But having to compete without Biles was difficult to overcome, with Team USA ultimately earning the silver medal as Russia took home the gold.

Watch above via NBC

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