While American gymnast Simone Biles battled mental health issues to win bronze in the women’s balance beam final at the Tokyo Olympics, China’s Guan Chenchen took home the gold.
Since Biles withdrew from the women’s team final last week, speculation has centred on her mental health.
The 24-year-old was then absent from four finals at the Tokyo Olympics (the all-around individual competition, the vault, the uneven bars, and the floor), but she returned to rousing cheers from her American colleagues.
According to Biles, she was evaluated by doctors every day after she withdrew from the team competition, and she met with a Team USA psychologist twice.
Last minute, she also had to adjust her beam routine’s dismount so she wouldn’t have to do a twist.
Simone Biles Made a Fearless Comeback
Simone Biles returned to competition on Tuesday without fear, winning bronze on the balancing beam to close off a rollercoaster Tokyo Olympics.
After a tumultuous Tokyo Games in which she dropped out of the team competition last Tuesday after performing just one vault.
Citing mental health difficulties, Biles, a three-time world champion on the beam, concluded with bronze but was regarded a victory.
The 24-year-old had planned to win a record-breaking six gold medals in Tokyo, which would have made her the most successful female Olympian of all time in any sport.
However, she experienced a crisis of confidence and had to pull out of the all-around, vault, asymmetric bars, and floor exercise finals.
China’s Guan Chenchen Wins Gold
Chinese gymnasts Guan Chenchen (14.633) and Tang Xijing (14.633) took first and second, respectively, in the final event of the women’s artistic gymnastics programme, but it was Biles’s inspiring comeback that stole the show.
A bout of the “twisties,” in which a gymnast loses the capacity to measure where she is in the air during a performance, caused her to withdraw from four finals before they began and another after just one vault.
The 24-year-old American superstar could not have asked for a better outcome, considering everything that had happened in the week since she had to withdraw from the team final.