Simone Biles was the best “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Monday night. She earned perfect scores from a panel of judges on both of her dances.
Yet the four-time Rio Olympic champion was shockingly eliminated from the show in fourth place. Biles and partner Sasha Farber were cut due to fan voting one week before the finals.
The announcement brought on a collective “Aww” from the studio audience. Two judges rose from their seats. One put his hands on his forehead. Another’s mouth was agape.
Biles was shocked, too.
“I thought they were going to pull a Steve Harvey on us,” she joked on “Good Morning America” after a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to New York City on Tuesday morning.
Ten hours earlier, Biles showed less expression in the immediate aftermath, before being enveloped in hugs from Farber and other contestants.
“We heard everyone, and I think everyone’s a little bit shocked,” Biles said in an E! interview. “Sometimes you don’t know [who is going to be eliminated].”
In gymnastics, Biles is undefeated in U.S. and world championships and Olympic all-around competitions. She reacted to a rare defeat with reflection.
“Yes, this is a journey that I’ve embarked on, and I’ve done things,” she said. “I’ve never danced in heels, never danced with a guy, so I feel like I’ve won a lot. I’ve won a friendship for life [with Farber]. I’ve been non-stop since the Olympics. I’ll have a week off.”
Biles was the fifth Olympic gymnast to compete on “Dancing with the Stars” and the third to finish in fourth place, joining Nastia Liukin and Aly Raisman. Raisman, a teammate of Biles’ in Rio, was in attendance Monday night.
Shawn Johnson won the Mirror Ball Trophy in 2009, and Laurie Hernandez was crowned champion in 2016.
“It’s hard to follow Laurie,” Biles said. “I feel like they [judges] wanted me to pick up where she left off.”
What’s next for Biles? Rest.
She has said she will not return to gymnastics training until the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018. Biles will be 23 years old come Tokyo 2020, older than any U.S. Olympic women’s artistic gymnast since 2004.
“I can’t wait to cheer her on at the Olympics,” Farber said.
None of the five women on the 2016 Olympic team have committed to competing this summer. The P&G Championships are in August. The world championships are in October.
U.S. women have won six straight Olympic or world all-around titles, but that streak appears in serious jeopardy.
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