Simone Biles Will Compete in Beam Medal Event After Pulling Out of Previous Finals: 'So Excited'
Simone Biles will compete on beam after opting out of her previous individual events due to a case of what she called the "twisties."
On Monday, USA Gymnastics announced that Biles, 24, will be competing in the fifth and final individual medal event for gymnastics.
"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," USAG said in a tweet.
After exiting early from last Tuesday's team final, Biles subsequently withdrew from all her other individual event finals: all-around, vault, bars and floor.
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USA Gymnastics announced the gymnast's withdrawal from the floor event final on Sunday. "Simone has withdrawn from the event final for floor and will make a decision on beam later this week. Either way, we're all behind you, Simone," the organization said in a statement.
Officials previously said Biles' all-around exit was "in order to focus on her mental health."
Aug. 3, which also marks one week since Biles' abrupt team all-around exit, marks the sport's final day at the Summer Games and some have speculated that the Tokyo Games could be the final Olympic competition of Biles' career.
In Tokyo, her overall Olympics medal count was bumped up to six after the four-member U.S. squad of Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum earned silver in the team all-around. (At the 2016 Rio Games, Biles' first Olympics, she won four gold and one bronze.)
But the pandemic-delayed Games did not unfold the way Biles or her fans had ever expected.
It all started on July 27, during the team all-around final when Biles made a sudden exit from the competition floor after her first apparatus (vault) at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre. The athletes of the Russian Olympic Committee placed first ahead of the U.S. and third-place Great Britain.
Citing issues with her mental health, Biles explained to reporters after the team all-around that she "had no idea where I was in the air," and that she was "having a little bit of the twisties," a term familiar to gymnasts and known as a phenomenon where they lose their understanding of where they are in the air, which could put them at risk of injury at landing.
Biles' early departure came one day after the women's preliminary competition when Biles made uncharacteristic errors that saw the U.S. team trailing Russia and qualified for every apparatus event final: vault, bars, beam and floor. (It was the first time the Americans weren't at the top of a leaderboard in an Olympics or world championship since 2010.) The decorated athlete later told fans on her Instagram Story that her feeling "so lost" in the air "was not happening before I left the USA," adding that "it randomly started happening after prelims competition the VERY next morning."
Then on July 28, USA Gymnastics announced that Biles wouldn't be participating in the women's gymnastics individual all-around. "After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health," the statement said. "Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week's individual event finals."
Fellow Team USA gymnast Jade Carey, who was not named on the team roster but was selected as an individual specialist, replaced Biles in the individual all-around and finished ninth behind Lee, who became the fifth American female gymnast to win the all-around title.
On July 31, Biles withdrew from the vault and uneven bars finals. Then the next day on Aug. 1, she withdrew from the floor final, her fourth consecutive exit.
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.