In a dramatic Olympics comeback, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles earned a bronze medal on the balance beam Tuesday in the final women’s gymnastics competition at the Tokyo games.
Biles, 24, who competed third in the event, scored a 14.0 on a nearly flawless routine that the decorated gymnast finished with a double pike dismount and a sigh of relief, flashing a large smile to the small crowd in attendance.
It is Biles seventh Olympic medal, tying her with Shannon Miller for the most in U.S. gymnastics history. Biles also earned bronze on beam during the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“It means more than all of the golds because I pushed through so much the last five years and the last week while I’ve even been here,” Biles told Hoda Kotb on NBC’s Today show Tuesday.
China’s Guan Chenchen won the gold medal, while the silver went her Chinese teammate Tang Xijing. American Sunisa Lee finished fifth with a 13.866.
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The balance beam was the last women’s gymnastics event of the Tokyo Olympics, and could be Biles’ final competition as a U.S. Olympian (though prior to the games she hinted about competing in the 2024 Olympics in Paris). She’s the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history, and enters the balance beam final with a total of 31 Olympic and world championship medals.
Biles opted to skip the more difficult double-twisting double tuck dismount after opening up about suffering from a case of “the twisties” — a phenomenon where gymnasts lose awareness of where they are while midair, making it incredibly difficult to land safely.
Biles chose not to compete in the all-around competition or the vault, uneven bars, or floor finals after pulling herself out of the team final last week to protect her health. She finished the Tokyo Games with two medals: one silver in the team final and her bronze on the balance beam on Tuesday.
“It wasn’t an easy decision so it hurts that people were like ‘oh she quit,’” Biles said. “I worked five years for that, why would I quit? ... I just don’t quit, that’s not what I do.”
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How did the U.S. women’s gymnastics team do at the Tokyo Olympics?
The U.S. women’s gymnastics team has earned six medals during the Tokyo Olympics, including two golds. Here are the event results:
Woman’s team final - July 27
Gold: Russian Olympic Committee
Silver: United States
Bronze: Great Britain
Women’s all-around final - July 29
Gold: Sunisa Lee, United States
Silver: Rebeca Andrade, Brazil
Bronze: Angelina Melnikova, Russian Olympic Committee
Women’s vault final - Aug. 1
Gold: Rebeca Andrade, Brazil
Silver: MyKayla Skinner, United States
Bronze: Seojeong Yeo, South Korea
Women’s uneven bars final - Aug. 1
Gold: Nina Derwael, Belarus
Silver: Anastasia Iliankova, Russian Olympic Committee
Bronze: Sunisa Lee, United States
Women’s floor exercise final - Aug. 2
Gold: Jade Carey, United States
Silver: Vanessa Ferrari, Italy
Bronze: Mai Murakami, Japan and Angelina Melnikova, Russian Olympic Committee
Women’s balance beam final - Aug. 3
Gold: Guan Chenchen, China
Silver: Tang Xijing, China
Bronze: Simone Biles, United States