Simone Biles Returns to Competition, Takes Home Bronze in Olympic Balance Beam Finals
After pulling out of most of her events in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to concerns for her mental health and a struggle with the "twisties," Olympic gymnast Simone Biles returned to the games on Tuesday, winning the bronze medal on the balance beam.
Biles, 24, was one of eight finalists to compete on the balance beam. Tuesday was the last day of events for artistic gymnasts.
According to ESPN, Biles, who is known for successfully completing complex gymnastic skills, altered her beam routine, making it slightly easier than the routine she performed during qualifiers. The outlet noted that Biles opted for a simpler dismount completing a double pike dismount, which she landed with only a slight hop.
Biles scored an even 14.000 points for her beam routine, finishing behind Chinese gymnasts Chenchen Guan (14.633) and Xijing Tang (14.233), who won the gold and silver medals for the event, respectively.
Biles told reporters that she was glad she was able to compete in the beam finals, noting that she did not expect to walk away with a medal.
"It wasn't easy pulling out of all those competitions," Biles said, according to ESPN. "People just thought it was easy, but I physically and mentally was not in the right headspace, and I didn't want to jeopardize my health and my safety because, at the end of the day, it's not worth it."
She added, "My mental and physical health is above all medals that I could ever win. So to be clear, to do beam, which I didn't think I was going to be, just meant the world to be back out there. And I wasn't expecting to walk away with the medal. I was just going out there doing this for me."
"We're not just entertainment; we're humans," an emotional Biles continued. "And there are things going on behind the scenes that we're also trying to juggle with as well, on top of sports."
According to Fox News, on top of already mounting mental health struggles, Biles also learned during the games that her aunt had passed away.
Biles, who is the most decorated U.S. gymnast of all time, is now tied with Shannon Miller for having the most Olympic medals. Both women won seven Olympic medals during their careers. Biles, who has not announced whether she will be retiring after this Olympics or attempting to compete in the 2024 Games in Paris, may still have a chance to break that record if she does compete in the next Summer Games.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jamie Squire/Staff
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