Simone Biles has made a successful return to Olympic competition, winning a bronze medal in the beam final.
The American gymnast scored 14.000 for her routine, and was beaten by Tang Xijing of China, who scored 14.233 and 26-year old Guan ChenChen, also of China, who took the gold medal with a score of 14.633.
Her podium place marks a stunning comeback after she was forced to withdraw from the team all-around final and four individual events last week after suffering from the ‘twisties.’
In a series of posts on Instagram over the weekend, Biles shared videos showing that she was continuing to experience difficulties sticking her landings, but has since made a remarkable comeback to compete in the beam final.
Biles had previously said her mind and her body were ‘not in sync,’ leading her to make the decision to withdraw rather than risk injuring herself.
Biles’ compatriot Sunisa Lee, who took gold in the individual all-around competition following Biles’ withdrawal, failed to medal after a stumble, with two other gymnasts also making errors as they attempted to pass Biles’ benchmark.
Her medal will likely be the final of her Olympic career, with the 24-year old widely expected to retire following the competition. Her remarkable achievement caps a career that has now seen her become the joint-most successful American Olympic gymnast of all time.
Biles now has four Olympic gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals, alongside her 25 World Championship medals.
Following her heroic return to competition Biles was praised on social media, with journalist Lukas Weese tweeting ‘most important of all, Biles went out on her own terms and showed the importance of athletes preserving their mental health. What an inspiration.’
‘Simone Biles may be adding another medal to her Olympic collection, but what’s even more special is the way that she set a boundary for herself on the world stage. No medal is worth your physical or mental health,’ wrote the All Things Gymnastics podcast.
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