Simone Biles, America’s top gymnast heading into the Tokyo Games, will leave the Olympics without a gold medal. That’s after the 24-year-old won a bronze medal on the balance beam Tuesday. She withdrew from all other individual events at the games, citing mental health struggles.
Chinese gymnasts Guan Chenchen, the 16-year-old phenom, won gold, and teammate Tang Xijing Tag earned a silver medal in the event.
Biles hasn’t competed since she said she began suffering from the twisties. Basically, Biles said she lost the ability to orient her body while performing aerial stunts. So, to combat this, she changed her routine on the beam, Yahoo said, and removed all twists. After she nailed her double-pike dismount, she turned to her teammates, smiling wide.
Her teammates cheered wildly when she landed cleanly. And she ran to the sidelines afterward to hug her coach Cecile Canqueteau-Landi and teammate Suni Lee, ESPN said.
USA Gymnastics tweeted out a photo of Simone Bile’s smiling after her dismount.
This is the second bronze medal for Biles on the balance beam as she won one in Brazil in 2016. It’s the seventh Olympic medal of her career, tying her with Shannon Miller for most medals for an American gymnast. However, Biles has more gold medals (4) than Miller (2), solidifying Biles even further as the greatest of all time. Biles also has 25 world championships as well.
It was a roller coaster of an Olympics for USA Gymnastics, but every team member is leaving with a medal. The team won silver last week in the team all-around competition, the first event Simone Biles pulled out of after a disastrous vault. Suni Lee won gold in the individual all-around. MyKayla Skinner, who took over for Biles on the individual vault won a silver in the event. And Jade Carey won gold in the floor routine.
Simone Biles Became Flashpoint at Tokyo Olympics
Simone Biles was treated as a talking point rather than a world-class athlete after she decided to withdraw from several events at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Nearly all Team USA members supported her decision, saying that the pressure of the Olympics is far greater than people realize. But there were fans who complained she “quit” on her country.
Swimmer Caeleb Dressel, who won five gold medals at the 2020 Olympics, said Biles knows her body best and should be allowed to make the decision for herself.
“Every individual is different,” Dressel said. “That’s why I’m not going to speak on anyone else’s behalf. That’s why I’m okay with the call that Simone did.”
The USA Gymnastics squad stayed behind Biles throughout the ordeal. And Simone Biles has repeatedly thanked them for their love and support through all the Tokyo Games.
Biles won’t leave Tokyo with her held down. Though, maybe it will be a little weighed down from the medals she won after overcoming every gymnast’s worst nightmare.