Biles returns to Olympic competition and wins bronze on beam

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Simone Biles blocked the landing and won a bronze medal

TOKYO – Simone Biles has found something a little more manageable than the weight of the world.

Bronze.

The American gymnastics superstar won her seventh Olympic medal and second in Tokyo with a third place in the beam final on Tuesday, a week after retiring from several competitions to face a mental block that prevented her to twist during the performance. .

Biles performed a slightly watered-down version of his usual routine in front of a crowd including IOC President Thomas Bach. The bronze – matching the one she won in Rio de Janeiro five years ago – tied her with Shannon Miller for most Olympic medals by an American gymnast.

“It’s definitely nicer than the bronze medal in Rio on beam because I had a good routine on beam,” she said.

Biles, using a double pike exit – no twist required – posted a score of 14,000. It was good enough for bronze behind the Chinese duo of gold medalist Guan Chenchen (14.633) and Tang Xijing (14.233).

“I was nervous but felt pretty good,” she said.

Olympic all-around champion Sunisa Lee of the United States was fifth. Lee, 18, won three medals in Tokyo, including silver in the team final and bronze on uneven bars.

Biles withdrew from competition earlier at the Tokyo Games, saying she felt “the weight of the world” on her 4-foot-8 frame. She pushed him aside to reach the podium for the 32nd time in a major international competition.

Biles arrived on the ground approximately 90 minutes before the start of the competition, wearing a red, white and blue leotard adorned with nearly 5,000 crystals. If she was nervous, it barely showed. She warmed up like it was just another day back in the gym her family owns in the northern suburbs of Houston. Twice, she jumped onto the beam to take a look at her routine and planted her double pike exit to the applause of the stands and the purring of dozens of cameras.

Biles arrived in Tokyo as the face of the US contingent in Japan and possibly the Games themselves. Still, the shine she so easily relied on for so long during her run to the top of the sport came undone after qualifying on July 25.

She jumped out of her trunk in the first rotation of the team final on July 27, then withdrew from the competition surprisingly as a protective measure as she struggled to locate herself in the air. She later described the phenomenon as “the twisties” and then retired from uneven bars, floor exercises and vault finals.

The decision amplified the increased attention to the importance of mental health in sport in general and among Olympians in particular. Add it to the growing list of moves that 24-year-old Biles has become a touchstone for during his rise to stardom.

She has spent the past week continuing to train and be evaluated by team doctor Dr Marcia Faustin, while also serving as the lead cheerleader for an American women’s team that has amassed material. serious in his absence.

“Put your health and safety first,” Biles said.

His return to competition on the beam ended his Olympic experience. She won bronze in the event in Brazil five years ago thanks in part to bending down to grab the 4-inch piece of wood after slipping. The decision cost her gold but secured her a fifth medal and, in retrospect, the one of which she says she is most proud.

Although she has not officially announced her retirement – she has hinted that she may want to stay one way or another until the Paris 2024 Games to honor coaches Laurent and Cécile Landi, who are both French – a long layoff awaits him. She is headlining a post-Olympic tour in the fall, but recently stressed that she plans to stay close to the sport.

“I just need to deal with these Olympics first,” Biles said.

If Tuesday night was her official goodbye, she did it on her terms. Just as she did for most of an elite eight-year career that pushed the boundaries of gymnastics and saw it achieve the kind of crossover success typically reserved for sprinters like Usain Bolt and swimmers. like Michael Phelps.

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More AP: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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