TOKYO — One week after she pulled out of the gymnastics team competition at the Tokyo Olympics, Simone Biles returned to win the bronze medal in Tuesday’s balance beam final.
This marks the seventh Olympic medal for the 24-year-old, who won four gold medals and a bronze – also on balance beam – at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, as well as a silver in last week’s team competition. She is now tied with Shannon Miller for winning the most Olympic medals of any American gymnast, according to USA Today.
In Tuesday’s final, Biles logged a score of 14, finishing behind China’s Guan Chenchen (14.633) and Tang Xijing (14.233). American Sunisa Lee finished in fifth place with a score of 13.866.
Biles, often described as the greatest gymnast of all time, withdrew from the team competition July 27 after the U.S. women completed their first rotation on vault. According to The Associated Press, she bailed on the vault she had planned to perform, an Amanar, and hopped on the landing.
Biles was seen with her trainer before leaving the floor with the team’s doctor following the routine, according to the AP. She returned to the sidelines to cheer on teammates Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum, who went on to win the silver medal.
Biles later revealed that she was suffering from “the twisties,” a mental block that causes athletes to lose awareness of their position midair, USA Today reported. Citing a need to focus on her mental health, she withdrew from the individual all-around, vault, uneven bars and floor finals.
“For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit,” she captioned an Instagram video that showed her falling back-first onto a mat while practicing an uneven bars dismount Friday. “My mind & body are simply not in sync, as you can see here.”
She added: “I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health.”
In Thursday’s all-around competition, Lee ended up capturing the gold medal, while teammate Jade Carey, who replaced Biles, finished in eighth place.
MyKayla Skinner, also of the United States, took Biles’ place in Sunday’s vault final and won the silver medal, while Carey stumbled and finished in eighth place. Lee later won the bronze in the uneven bars final.
On Monday, Carey won the gold medal in the women’s floor exercise final.
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