Simone Biles bounces back, wins bronze on balance beam

Corky Siemaszko and Saphora Smith
Bronze medallist Simone Biles of the United States celebrates on the podium, August 3, 2021.
Mike Blake | Reuters

Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles fought back her fears and returned to competition Tuesday but fell short in her quest for Olympic gold in the balance beam competition and instead brought in a bronze medal.

The star finished behind Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing, both of China. Guan took the gold with a score of 14.633, ahead of Tang 14.233.

Widely considered the world's best gymnast, Biles, 24, moved smoothly and precisely through her routine barely wobbling, and smiled broadly as she landed on the mat when it concluded. She waved and blew a kiss at photographers and the crowd, and hugged teammates and competitors alike.

Biles now ties the record for the most Olympic medals won by a U.S. gymnast, Team USA tweeted shortly after she bagged the bronze. She scored 14.000.

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"It's been a very long week, it's been a very long five years," Biles said speaking in the gymnastics center after the event. "I didn't expect a medal today I just wanted to go out there and do this for me and that's exactly what I did."

Biles stunned spectators last week by withdrawing during the team gymnastics final. She said the emotional toll of the Tokyo Games, not a physical injury, prompted her to withdraw.

Speaking Tuesday, Biles said she had been evaluated by medical professionals daily. She also had two sessions with a sports psychologist while in Tokyo, which she said had helped ease her mind.

"Then just focusing on beam since I don't twist and all that really helped," she said.

Biles told the reporter that she had found out that her aunt had recently passed away unexpectedly and that it had been really hard.

Earlier, Biles had revealed she was still suffering from "the twisties" and "literally cannot tell up from down." But there was no sign of any such anxiety as she performed Tuesday.

Asked how Tuesday's bronze compared to past medals she said that it was "definitely sweeter."