After withdrawing from other event finals, Simone Biles competed in Tokyo on Tuesday and made the podium.
Simone Biles is one of the best gymnasts the world has ever witnessed.
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Teammate Sunisa Lee stepped in to take the gold medal in the all-around competition, while another member of the US team, Jade Carey, won the gold medal in the floor exercise.
In the wake of her first withdrawal last week, Biles said she wasn’t in the right mental state to compete. “I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a backseat, work on my mindfulness and I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job and I didn’t want to risk the team a medal,” Biles said at a press conference.
“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many,” read a statement from USA Gymnastics following her withdrawal from the individual all-around finals.
In spite of her withdrawal from the all-around and other event finals, USA Gymnastics announced on Monday that Biles would be competing on Tuesday in the balance beam final alongside Lee.
Biles has noted on social media that she’s been suffering from the “twisties” — a phenomenon in which gymnasts lose the ability to tell where their body is while performing twists, making it difficult to negotiate a safe landing. Unlike Biles’ other events, her beam routine doesn’t rely as heavily on twists, aside from her dismount, which she replaced on Tuesday with a double pike.
Biles entered the Olympics with serious momentum. She currently holds more medals than any other gymnastics competitor, with 25 — 19 of which are golds. Biles is one of six women the US sent to the Olympics to compete in gymnastics, alongside Lee, Carey, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum and MyKayla Skinner.
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Olympic gymnastics comprises four events: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. Now that the beam final is complete, there will be no further women’s artistic gymnastics events at this games.
Following her qualification round, Biles was set to compete in all four of the events. In total, Biles was expected to win up to six gold medals. In Rio’s 2016 Olympics, she won four golds — in vault, floor, individual all-around and team all-around — and performed with such distinction that she was chosen as the US flag bearer at the closing ceremonies.
Biles’ situation and decisions have earned her mass support — and some criticism.
In the US, you can watch the Olympics and all of the above events through NBC. NBC airs edited versions of the Games during prime-time hours, but you can watch the events live on Peacock or on NBCOlympics.com. Viewers in the UK will watch through EuroSport, while Australians can see the games through Channel 7 and the 7plus streaming service.
Biles has become a significant force in recent years: She’s often called the greatest gymnast of all time and, after just her first Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, is considered a top-tier Olympian.
Her accolades go beyond medals. She was named ESPN’s Most Dominant Athlete of the Year (2018), ESPN’s Woman of the Year (2016) and AP’s Female Athlete of the Year (2019).
CNET’s Sean Keane and Katie Collins contributed to this report.