Simone Biles made a dazzling return to the Olympic stage — and Olympic podium — on Tuesday.
The GOAT of gymnastics won a bronze medal in the balance beam final after missing a full week of competition in Tokyo.
On her routine, Biles scored a 14.000 — 7.900 execution and 6.100 difficulty — just behind China’s duo of Guan Chenchen (14.633) and Tang Xijing (14.233).
After her dismount, Biles flashed her trademark sparkling grin — a very different picture from a week ago, when she appeared to grimace on the dismount from the vault in the team competition, and then went off to speak with trainers. She had not competed since.
Her second medal of the Tokyo Olympics, Biles now has seven career medals, tied with Shannon Miller for the most in American women’s gymnastics history. It’s the second straight bronze on the balance beam for Biles.
Biles had pulled out of four previous individual events — all-around, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise — after experiencing the “twisties” on a vault in the team final last Tuesday. As her fellow Team USA gymnasts predicted, Biles was able to overcome the phenomenon on balance beam, where twisting is much less prevalent than on the other apparatus in women’s gymnastics.
Biles’ comeback was just the latest and most prominent example of athletes at the Tokyo Olympics overcoming slow starts to land on the podium.