Simone Biles has won the bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, after competing in the women’s balance beam final.
She scored 14.000, finishing behind China’s Tang Xijing on 14.233 and Guan Chenchen on 14.633.
It’s been a difficult competition for the American gymnast, who withdrew from five of the six finals she qualified for this year, citing a dangerous mental block known as the “twisties”.
The condition causes professional gymnasts to lose their spatial awareness while performing complex skills, with Biles recently seen struggling with this disorientation during an Amanar vault.
The legendary gymnast cited safety concerns arising from this affliction and a need to protect her mental health as reasons for withdrawal, while hitting back against those who said that she had “quit” the games.
“For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync as you can see here,” Biles wrote in a recent Instagram post. “I don’t think you realise how dangerous this is on a hard/competition surface.”
She added: “It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind and body in sync. Literally cannot tell up from down. It’s the craziest feeling ever.
“Not having an inch of control over your body. What’s even scarier is since I have no idea where I am in the air, I also have NO idea how I’m going to land. Or what I’m going to land on.”
Biles’ bronze at Tokyo 2020 is the 24-year-old’s seventh Olympic medal, after an absolutely stellar run at 2016’s Games in Rio de Janeiro, in which she took home four golds.
This result ties her with the now retired Shannon Miller as the most decorated US Olympic gymnast of all-time, with potential for Biles to jump ahead if she decides to compete in 2024.
The athlete had previously intended to retire after two Olympic Games, but expressed interest in returning for Paris 2024 in an interview with Glamour in June.
“My coaches Cecile and Laurent are from Paris, so I think that would be a good run to end with them there,” she explained. “I’ll see where we go.”