The 24-year-old fought off a spatial awareness issue known as the ‘twisties’ to take third place on the women’s beam behind Chinese teenagers Chenchen Yuan and Tang Xijing.
It capped a remarkable return to centre stage for Biles, who had not competed since she withdrew early in the women’s team final last week. She subsequently pulled out of the first three of the four individual finals for which she had qualified, before reasoning that she was able to give it one last shot in the final women’s event of the Games.
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Ahead of the Games, there were was a lot of expectation on Biles to equal or do better than her historic quadruple gold medal result from Rio in 2016.
Although she successfully qualified for all four individual finals, the sports star seemed out of sorts when she failed to execute her vault, resulting in Biles leaving the floor and withdrawing from the team.
Simone Biles, of the United States, performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women’s apparatus final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. AP
Biles later confirmed she had pulled out due to “twisting”, and on social media explained: “It has never transferred to bars and beam for me.
“This time it’s literally in every event which sucks.“(You) literally cannot tell up from down. It’s the craziest feeling ever, not having an inch of control over your body.”
Beam is not being regarded as Biles’s greatest strength.
She’s won three world titles on the apparatus, including in Stuttgart in 2019, and won a bronze medal in Rio 2016.
Biles qualified seventh out of eight for the finals but was only 0.134 points behind her US team-mate Sunisa Lee, who qualified in third.
Her bronze medaling-winning score of 14.0 actually ended up being lower than her heat result of 14.006. Biles held second place for a while before winning bronze after Yuan, the highest qualifier, scored 14.633 to clinch gold.