American Simone Biles, one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, won a bronze medal on the balance beam at the Tokyo Games. The 24-year-old gymnast had not competed since last week.
Simone Biles returns with a bronze medal on balance beam
Biles, who starred at the Rio 2016 Games, had withdrawn from previous individual and team competitions because of a mental block known as the twisties, a condition that throws gymnasts out of position when they are in the air doing somersaults.
The 24-year-old gymnast had not competed since last week’s team all-around final, in which she performed a vault, before withdrawing, saying she had to pay attention to her mental health.
With a routine full of confidence on the apparatus, Biles posted a score of 14,000. In the end she let out a smile, in contrast to the difficult week she has had.
The gold medal went to China’s Guan Chenchen, with 14.633 points, and the silver went to compatriot Tang Xijing, with 14.233 points.
That medal brings her total to seven Olympic medals, tying her with Shannon Miller as the most decorated U.S. gymnast at the Olympics.
A golden return with a bronze medal
If these Olympic Games are being complicated by covid-19 restrictions and other control measures, the return of Simone Biles was an almost impossible event.
The expectation was high and already from the street leading to the venue was evident, with reinforced security and a scrupulous process of verification of the credentials of each visitor; few for an event of such magnitude.
The crowd was undoubtedly waiting for Biles and only her: they rose at her entrance to the track, cheered as she approached the bar and applauded relentlessly when she finished her exercise, having held their breath on each jump.
She entered seemingly calm, with a smile and constantly tucked in by her team, who kept hugging her.
Guan and Tang, only 16 and 18 years old, took the top spots on the podium, but Biles was Biles… and for the crowd at the Tokyo gymnastics center – and those cheering her on from home around the world – her lap was gold.