Simone Biles returning for balance beam, her last event of Tokyo Olympics

·3 min read

TOKYO — Simone Biles feels good enough again to give it another go.

USA Gymnastics said Monday that Biles would do the last event final, balance beam, scheduled for Tuesday night. It will be her first competition since she withdrew from the women’s team final Tuesday night, citing concerns for her mental health and physical safety.

She also withdrew from Thursday night’s all-around competition, though she was in the stands to watch teammate Suni Lee become the fifth consecutive American to win the Olympic title, as well as the event finals for vault, uneven bars and floor exercise.

“We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow – Suni Lee and Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both,” spokesperson Carol Fabrizio said in a statement.

Biles is the reigning world champion on balance beam, and also won a bronze medal on the event at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She is up third in the eight-person final.

Biles came to Tokyo as the biggest star of these Olympics, projected to win a record five gold medals. But she developed a case of “the twisties,” a loss of air awareness that can have catastrophic consequences for a gymnast.

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Simone Biles' Olympics have not turned out as expected as she contends with mental health concerns.
Simone Biles' Olympics have not turned out as expected as she contends with mental health concerns.

In the first event of the team competition, Biles had attempted to do an Amanar, one of the most difficult vaults being done by women but second nature to Biles. But she fell out of the air one twist short, and barely got it to her feet. On her Instagram story Friday, Biles said she was still experiencing the “twisties” but, unlike her previous experience with them, they were now affecting her on all four events rather than just vault and floor.

“Honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync. 10/10 do not recommend,” Biles wrote Friday in an Instagram post in which she explained in detail the issues she’s been having.

She also posted two videos of her trying to do her double twisting somersault dismount on uneven bars, and it was clear she was not herself. In the first video, she got through a half twist before suddenly dropping out of the air and landing flat on her back. In the second, she makes it 1½ times around.

In both videos, she is landing on mats placed over a pit filled with foam blocks. In competition, however, she would have to do her skills on a hard, unforgiving surface.

Biles deleted the videos within about an hour of posting them, though she later re-posted the text that had accompanied them.

“I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface,” Biles wrote.

“Sometimes I can’t even fathom twisting,” she added. “I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Simone Biles will compete again at 2021 Olympics in balance beam final

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