TOKYO (AP) – Simone Biles is back.
The 2016 Olympic gymnastics champion will return to competition in the balance beam finals on Tuesday, a little more than a week after she stepped away from the meet to focus on her mental health.
“We are so excited to confirm that you will see two American athletes in the Balance Beam Finals tomorrow – Suni Lee and Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to see the two of you!” USA Gymnastics said in a statement.
Biles, 24, won bronze on beam in Rio de Janeiro five years ago and qualified for eight women’s finals at the Ariake Gymnastics Center on the first weekend of the Games.
He withdrew himself from the team finals on 27 July after an unstable performance at Vault during the first rotation. He looked from the sidelines as his three American comrades finished the meeting without him; The US overtook the team known as the Russian Olympic Committee.
The six-time Olympic medalist later said she was dealing with issues with aerial awareness, which she referred to as “twisty” in her sport.
Biles qualified for all five individual event finals but ruled out four of them: all-around, vault, floor exercise and uneven bar. Lee earned gold in the all-around, becoming the fifth straight American to claim the game’s marquee title.
Considered the greatest gymnast of all time and the undisputed face of the American Olympic movement, when she arrived in Japan, Biles continued to train and be evaluated by USA Gymnastics staff after several finals exits. She has also been a fixture in the stands supporting Lee, Mykayla Skinner and Jade Carey while they took part in the event finals.
She elaborated on the “twisteries” last week, explaining that she lost the confidence to know what her body was going to do in the air. This isn’t the first time Biles has dealt with the problem, though she said issues followed both the uneven bars and the beams. Previous encounters with the event were limited to floor exercises and the vault, where more twisting elements are required.
Finishing his second Olympics—and perhaps his career—on the balance beam is poetic justice for Biles. She took the bronze medal in Rio when she nearly slipped midway despite grabbing a 4-inch piece of wood 4 feet off the ground. This was his fifth medal at the Games. The other four were of gold.
Biles called the bronze medal a Brazil-earned medal that he is proud of, and he has taken on those who have called it a disappointment, using it as evidence of the double standard he believes. She follows him whenever she competes.
Athletes from the Olympics and elsewhere rallied around her last week, praising her courage to speak out about the importance of mental health.