Simone Biles Wins Bronze in Her Only Tokyo Olympics Individual Event, Sunisa Lee Takes Fifth
Back, and as amazing as ever.
Simone Biles made her return to the Olympic competition on Tuesday after pulling out of all of her previous individual events due to a case of what she has called the "twisties," and ended up winning bronze in the women's beam final. Biles scored 14.000 for her routine.
Biles' teammate Sunisa "Suni" Lee — the Tokyo Games women's gymnastics individual all-around champion — also competed, coming in fifth place with a score of 13.866.
The gold medal went to Guan Chenchen of China with 14.633, and her teammate Tang Xijing took the silver with her score of 14.233.
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Their teammates Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum and Mykayla Skinner were all in the stands to cheer the women on.
"I'm pretty happy. I wasn't expecting to medal. I just came out here and tried to do a good beam set," Biles said at a press conference after the beam final.
"I switched my dismount last minute because of everything going on," she said.
"Just to have one more opportunity to compete at the Olympics means the world to me. I just was trying to go out there and hit a good beam set and compete one more time at these Olympic Games because I qualified for all five finals but then I pulled out," Biles shared. "It sucked but I was excited to be in the stands and cheering for all of Team USA."
Speaking about the importance of putting mental health as a priority, Biles also said: "To bring up the topic of mental health, I think it should be talked about a lot more, especially with athletes because I know some of us are going through the same things, and we're always told to push through it, but we are all a little older now, and we can kind of speak for ourselves. At the end of the day, we're not just entertainment. We're human, and there are things going on behind the scenes that we're also trying to juggle with, as well, on top of sports."
U.S.A. Gymnastics announced that Biles would participate in the beam just 24 hours before the final, saying in their statement, "We are so excited." The news was a welcome surprise after Biles abruptly exited from last Tuesday's team final and subsequently withdrew from all her other individual event finals: all-around, vault, bars and floor.
She later explained that she was focusing on her mental health and had lost air awareness during flips. The "twisties," which Biles mentioned, is a phenomenon in which gymnasts lose their understanding of where they are in the air, which could put them at risk of injury at landing.
Biles said to her Instagram followers that her "mind & body are simply not in sync." She told those who have made comments about her absence from the events, "I don't think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface."
The 24-year-old's exit from the other individual events left room for some of her teammates to shine, including Lee, whose all-around medal came as she ended the competition with 57.433.
Team USA's Jade Carey later won her own gold in the individual floor final. Mykayla Skinner, who — like Carey — was competing as an individual, took the silver medal in vault.
All of the U.S. women's gymnastics team has won a medal in these Games, with Chiles securing hers in the Team Final, in which Biles performed the vault before exiting.
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.