Simone Biles took some time off, got herself right, and got back to doing what she was born to do — competing at the highest level of her sport.
Her self-removal from competition earlier in the Olympics was neither heroic nor cowardly, simply disappointing for the fans who wanted to watch greatness. It made her return one to remember.
Tuesday evening in Tokyo, Biles returned to competition in the women’s individual balance beam final and took home her seventh Olympic medal by winning bronze. Her seven Olympic medals ties her with Shannon Miller for the most Olympic medals by an American gymnast.
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) August 3, 2021
Biles was far from perfect on the beam, but had a solid performance as she earned a score of 14.000. China topped the leaderboard, with Guan Chenchen of China winning gold with a score of 14.633 and Tang Xijing taking home the silver medal with a 14.233.
It was repeat of her performance at the Rio Olympics in 2016, where Biles also placed third on the beam.
Sunisa Lee — who won gold in the women’s individual all-around last week — finished fifth on the beam.
“I’m really proud of myself, I’m actually super happy with the way this turned out,” Lee said. “I really love Simone and just having her by my side was super great because she is a role model to me.”
It was Biles second event of the Tokyo Olympics after withdrawing from the women’s team final and sitting out the individual events on the uneven bars, vault and all-round.
Her mid-competition withdrawal during the team competition last week was a shocking disappointment, though the U.S. still managed to win the silver medal. Biles lost herself in mid-air on her first and only vault attempt, and landed awkwardly before taking a big step forward. She was given a low score of 13.766 points and exited the floor with the U.S. trainer. After returning to the floor, Biles was replaced by Jordan Chiles on the uneven bars and it was announced that Biles was out for the rest of the competition.
After the competition, Biles admitted that her “mental’s” weren’t there, and didn’t want to jeopardize the teams’ chances at a medal or risk hurting herself during the event.
“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” Biles told Hoda Kotb exclusively on TODAY after her withdrawal. “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”
“I’m OK, just super frustrated of how the night played out, but super proud of these girls that stepped up and did what they needed to do and now we’re Olympic silver medalists, so it’s something that we’ll cherish forever,” Biles said. “We hope America still loves us.”
Biles had struggled before the finals, leading the U.S. team to a second place finish behind Russia in the qualifiers. It was the first time the Americans have failed to finish first in team standings since the 2010 world championships.
Biles admitted to having the “weight of the world” on her shoulders after qualifying.
“It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it. I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times,” Biles wrote on Instagram. “I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke! BUT I’m happy my family was able to be with me virtually. They mean the world to me.”
Her stunning withdrawal stirred a major conversation around mental health and whether Biles should have fought through her struggles in order to help her teammates. Biles has stated that she’s suffering from the “twisties” — a term used by gymnasts to describe when they get lost in the air — and she took to social media last week to show what she’s been fighting through.
“For anyone saying I quit. I didn’t quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync,” Biles wrote in a video. “As you can see. I don’t think you realize how hard this is on hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health. I’m supposed to do 1 ½ more twists.”
On her IG stories, Simone Biles responds to people who think she “quit” on her team by explaining the “the twisties” she’s been experiencing and what it feels like “not having your mind and body in sync” …. pic.twitter.com/79hN973rkd
— Kimberley A. Martin (@ByKimberleyA) July 30, 2021
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to email@example.com.
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