Simone Biles officially returned to the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday morning, and she made her comeback count. The superstar gymnast took home the bronze medal after competing in the balance beam finals, the fifth and final individual medal event for women’s gymnastics.
It marked the seventh time Biles has medaled at the Olympics and may have even resulted in her winning the gold had she not performed what the Associated Press called “a slightly watered-down version of her usual routine.”
Even though Biles had not competed in a week, she still medaled, backing up her reputation as the winningest gymnast of all time.
All Biles needed was a double-pike dismount — a move that was named after her had she twisted — to register a score of 14.000, allowing her to finish in third place behind two Chinese gymnasts who won the gold and silver medals, respectively.
Anticipation was at peak levels after USA Gymnastics announced that the 24-year-old announced her return to competition after temporarily withdrawing from the Olympics because of mental health concerns following the vault event on July 27.
Prior to stepping away from the Olympics last week, Biles explained her brief hiatus.
“I just don’t trust myself as much as I used to,” Biles told reporters at the time. “I don’t know if it’s age. I’m a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics. I feel like I’m also not having as much fun, and I know that this Olympic Games, I wanted it to be for myself. I came here, and I felt like I was still doing it for other people. So that just hurts my heart that doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me to please other people.”
The seven-time all-around champion said she caught a case of the “twisties,” a loss of awareness in the air that could cause serious injuries for gymnasts.
Biles previously shared with fans that she felt like she had “the weight of the world” on her shoulders at times. “I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard,” she added.
Biles took home a silver medal at the U.S. Team finals and withdraw from the remaining individual events that included the all-around individual competition vault uneven bars and floor exercise. Tuesday’s balance beam finals were her last chance to take home gold during the Tokyo Olympics.
While an Olympic bronze medal is nothing to sneeze at, the 22-time gold medalist has undeniably cemented herself as the G.O.A.T in gymnastics history. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Biles earned her world champion status after dominating the competition with a gold medal in the individual all-around event, the vault, and on-floor exercise.
During the 2019 World Gymnastics Championships in Germany, Biles became the queen of the balance beam securing her fifth all-around title.
While we’re all giving Simone Biles more flowers, scroll down to get reacquainted with some of her previous balance beam domination complete with her signature gravity-defying moves.
1. The Biles
Simone cemented her signature “Biles” move-in history books during the 2019 World Gymnastics Championships, bringing home gold for Team USA.
2. Double Double
Simone is the first person in history to perform a double-double dismount on the balance beam in competition. The world-renown gymnast successfully landed the difficult move during 2019’s U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Kansas City, Mo.
3. Yurchenko Double Pike
During the U.S. Gymnastics Classic this year, Biles debuted her risky Yurchenko Double Pike move which required the gymnast to round off into the springboard and end with a piked double backflip to the landing.
4. Wolf Turn
Biles dominated a 2-spin Wolf Turn at the 2016 Rio Olympics. It’s a move that’s proven to be difficult for some, but the star athlete made it look effortless.
5. Back Layouts
The move qualified Biles to compete at the Tokyo Olympics this year.