Simone Biles scored a bronze medal in the balance beam finals during the gymnast’s return to competition at the Tokyo Olympics Tuesday.
This marked Biles’ first time competing an event at the summer 2021 games since she withdrew from the gymnastics women’s team all-around final last Tuesday due to “the twisties.”
The Olympic-gold medalist scored a 14.0 during today’s beam finals in Tokyo, putting her behind China’s Tang Xijing, who took silver with a score of 14.233, and China’s Guan Chenchen, who won the event’s gold with a 14.633.
Biles’ bronze from the beam event marks her seventh Olympic medal. She now ties with Shannon Miller for the most medals held by a gymnast from the U.S.
Last Tuesday, Biles withdrew from the women’s team final after the vault competition, the Team USA’s first event, citing the need to focus on her mental health.
Biles has said she was experiencing a mental state known in the gymnastics world as “the twisties,” which she first noticed during practice sessions. Robert Andrews, a mental health expert who worked with Biles from 2013-2017, said he approved of her decision and explained to NBC what the mental block was like.
“The twisties… it’s a symptom of the brain being overwhelmed with too much stress, pressure and anxiety,” Andrews told CNBC last week. “In essence, the brain is saying it’s not safe enough for you to do these incredibly difficult skills, and if you do, you’re at serious risk of injuring yourself, so she is wise to listen to her brain and her body.”
Biles then dropped out of the all-around final and the first three individual finals: floor, vault and uneven bars.
On Monday, it was announced that Biles would be competing in Tuesday’s beam final, marking her return to the Tokyo games and the final opportunity for her to do so.
During her time not participating in the summer games, Biles stood on the sidelines, passionately cheering on her fellow Team USA gymnasts throughout their events, with Suni Lee winning gold in the individual all-around final.