Simone Biles to Compete in Balance Beam Final in Return to 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 2, 2021

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Simone Biles will compete in Tuesday's balance beam final at the 2021 Summer Olympics after previously withdrawing from four events to focus on her mental health.

USA Gymnastics announced Biles would be competing in the event Monday. She took bronze in the event at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Widely regarded as the greatest gymnast the sport has ever seen, Biles said she has been struggling with a mental-health block known colloquially within the sport as the "twisties."

The phenomenon causes gymnasts' bodies to not be in sync with their minds, which can be dangerous and unnerving given the flips and high degree of difficulty the athletes put into their stunts.

Biles described it in her Instagram story Friday:

"Literally cannot tell up from down. It's the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body. What's even scarier is since I have no idea where I am in the air I also have NO idea how I'm going to land, or what I'm going to land on. Head/hands/feet/back.
"I also have no idea how I landed on my feet on that vault because if you look at the pictures and my eyes you can see how confused I am as to where I am in the air. Thankfully I landed safe enough but I also don't think some of you realize I was supposed to do a 2 1/2 and I only completed 1 1/2 twists before it looks like I got shot out of the air."

Biles withdrew from the team competition, individual all-around, vault and uneven bars while working behind the scenes on her mental health.

Now seemingly in a better frame of mind to compete, Biles will look to add Olympic gold to her three World Championships on the beam.


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