Simone Biles returned in spectacular fashion Tuesday morning.
After withdrawing from the team event and four individual events, Biles returned to the Olympics with a stellar balance beam performance, scoring 14.000, good enough for the bronze medal.
China’s Chenchen Guan was the final gymnast of the competition and scored 14.633 to win the gold medal. Xijing Tang of China scored 14.233 to win the silver medal.
Suni Lee completed her final event of the Tokyo Olympics in less than stellar fashion, failing to medal in the balance beam.
The judges gave Lee a total score of 13.866, with a 6.400 on difficulty and 7.466 on execution. She ended the event in fifth place.Lee had a couple of slip-ups in her routine. She nearly fell off the beam at one point, wobbling to keep her balance but recovered to stay on. On her dismount, it wasn’t a clean landing for Lee either. As a result, she ends the Tokyo Olympics with three medals.
Biles explained that she was experiencing the “the twisties,” or a lack of air awareness while trying to complete extremely difficult moves.
“I didn’t know where I was in the air,” Biles said.
Biles said that she had been suffering from anxiety, stress and mental health issues heading into Tokyo due to the immense pressure to achieve perfection in every event.
Someone experiencing the twisties is in less danger in Tuesday’s event, another former gymnast explained.
Balance beam is probably the “safest” route for someone struggling with the twisties because “it is upright,” former Olympian Laurie Herndanez told “TODAY” co-anchor Hoda Kotb.
“These Olympic Games, I wanted it to be about myself,” Biles said last week. “And I came in and I felt I was still doing it for other people and it hurts my heart that doing what I love has been taken away from me to please other people.”
“I am not going to lose a medal for this country and these girls because they’ve worked way too hard to have me go out there and lose a medal,” she said.
The United States was still able to win a silver medal with Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum handling the rest of the rotations.
Following the event, Biles received an outpouring of support from olympians past and present.
Gymnasts spoke out detailing their own struggles with focus and concentration. Others praised Biles for acknowledging her mental health issues. which was a once-taboo topic for elite athletes.
Biles then decided to withdraw from the all-around, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise competitions at the Tokyo Olympics to focus on her mental and physical health.
She spent the rest of her time cheering on her teammates as Lee won gold in the all-around event and bronze in the uneven bars event, while McKayla Skinner stepped in for Biles and won silver in the vault event.
American Sam Mikulak ended his Olympic career with a 6th-place finish in the men’s parallel bars.
Mikulak scored a 15.000 on his performance, receiving a 6.400 on the difficulty and a 8.600 on the execution.
China’s Zou Jingyuan won gold, Germany’s Lukas Dauser took silver and Turkey’s Ferhat Arican took the bronze.The six-time Olympic medalist withdrew from the team competition last Tuesday after a single rotation. She was unable to perform her vault and fell a full twist short, landing awkwardly and delivering an uncharacteristically low score.
The three-time Olympian previously announced that he would be retiring after the Tokyo Olympics. He finishes his career without an Olympic medal.
American Brody Malone narrowly missed the podium in the men’s horizontal bar final, finishing fourth with a 14.200 score.
Japan’s Hashimoto Daiki (15.066) won the gold, while Croatia’s Tin Srbic (14.900) took silver and the Russian Olympic Committee’s Nikita Nagornyy (14.533) claimed bronze.
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