American gymnastics star Simone Biles ended her incomplete participation in the Tokyo Olympics by winning the bronze balance beam in gymnastics, Tuesday, while the Chinese, Shenzhen Guoan, won the gold.
Biles withdrew from the full team competition after one jump due to “mental health” problems, speaking of “sprains”, but she won silver with the American team, before withdrawing from four other competitions.
This is the second bronze in a row in the same competition for Biles after Rio 2016.
After the competition, Biles said, “I was just happy that I was able to perform regardless of the outcome. I did it for myself and was proud to be able to compete again.”
“I was evaluated by the doctors here on a daily basis and then I had two sessions with psychologists in sport which helped me, and then I was allowed to compete on the balance beam what I honestly did not expect to happen yesterday evening. So having another chance to compete for an Olympic medal was good.” Because after five years of training and coming here, I would have felt something was wrong if I didn’t do something.”
Biles scored 14,000 points, behind the other Chinese, Shijing Tang, the silver (14.233), while Guan (16 years) won the gold with 14,633 points.
The American had talked about “sprains”, which are positions that cause a loss of balance and perception of place in the air, a phenomenon known in the world of gymnastics and trampolines.
And about her choice to return to the balance beam competition instead of other competitions, she said: “I was not able to compete in it physically without putting my health at risk, because more sprains and I would still be lost in the air and when landing. I do not face this problem on the beam.”
Biles, 24, shocked the world when she announced her withdrawal during the full-team competition on Tuesday, before continuing her withdrawals in the following days from the floor movements, the jumping horse and the singles full competition, which won all her golds in Rio 2016, in addition to her withdrawal from the competition of the different height models.
The four gold medalist in Rio arrived in the Japanese capital, aspiring to raise the total number of her yellow metal medals in the Games to nine, and equal the record of the Soviet Larisa Latynina in women’s gymnastics.
But the holder of 25 medals in the world championships, including 19 gold, will be satisfied with silver and bronze, raising her total Olympic medals to 7, while questions will hover in the next three years whether she will participate in Paris 2024.
“Now I will focus more on myself but when we come back we have a tour of the states with the girls and I’m excited about that,” she said of the Paris Games.
Biles decided to prioritize her mental and physical well-being. “People have to realize that at the end of the day we are human and not just entertainment,” she told a news conference. “There are things going on behind the scenes that people have no idea about.”
“I know some of us go through the same things and we’re always told to move on and get through the ordeal, but now we’re a little bit older and we can kind of talk about ourselves,” Biles said.