Updated 1:15 PM ET, Tue August 3, 2021
Simone Biles finished her Tokyo Olympics on a high note Tuesday, winning bronze in the balance beam and tying Shannon Miller for the most Olympic medals ever won by an American gymnast.
Biles, who many consider the greatest gymnast of all time, had pulled out of several events over the past week, citing mental health concerns. Specifically, she said she had “the twisties,” a mental block in gymnastics where competitors lose track of their positioning midair. She withdrew in the middle of the team all-around and then decided not to compete in the individual all-around. She also skipped finals in the vault, uneven bars and floor exercise.
But Biles came back with a strong performance in the balance beam, landing all of her combinations. China’s Guan Chenchen won the gold, and China’s Tang Xijing won the silver.
“It’s been a very long week, a very long five years,” Biles said after the competition. “I didn’t expect to medal today. I just wanted to go out and do it for me, and that’s what I did.”
Biles now has seven Olympic medals. She also won silver in last week’s team all-around, and she won four golds and a bronze in 2016. That bronze also came in the balance beam.