What happened to Simone Biles? USA star returns to women’s gymnastics for balance beam final

Biles pulled out of the women’s team final after just one rotation before withdrawing from the all-around final

Mark Staniforth
Tuesday 03 August 2021 10:21
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Simone Biles appears to struggle with opening vault

Simone Biles is returning to the Tokyo Olympics to compete in the balance beam final.

The 24-year-old pulled out after just one rotation of the women’s team final a week ago in Tokyo, citing mental health concerns and has not competed since.

In a statement, USA Gymnastics said: “After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition.

“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

Biles won four gold medals in Rio in 2016 and was aiming to become the first gymnast to retain a female all-around title at the Games since Vera Caslavska in 1968.

She successfully qualified for the final in first place but a mistake on her opening vault in Tuesday night’s team final prompted her to leave the arena with a US team medic.

Amid injury fears, Biles returned to the arena to support her team to an eventual silver medal behind the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee, and later revealed she had made her decision due to a desire to protect her mental health.

Biles said on Tuesday: “It’s been really stressful these Olympic Games, not having an audience. It’s been a long week, a long Olympic process, a long year. We are just a little bit too stressed out. We should be out here having fun.

“I feel like I’m also not having as much fun and this Olympic Games I wanted it to be for myself and it felt like I was still doing it for other people. It hurts my heart that doing what I love has been taken away from me to please other people.”

She went on to withdraw from the individual finals for vault, floor and uneven bars but returns on the balance beam, an apparatus she won bronze on in Rio.

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