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Simone Biles Will Return For The Olympic Balance Beam Final

U.S. gymnastics star Simone Biles, shown here last week, will compete in the balance beam final at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.
U.S. gymnastics star Simone Biles, shown here last week, will compete in the balance beam final at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

Updated August 2, 2021 at 9:19 AM ET

U.S. star gymnast Simone Biles will return for the final women's artistic gymnastic event of the Tokyo Olympics, after multiple withdrawals to focus on her mental health.

"We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow - Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!!" USA Gymnastics said. "Can't wait to watch you both!"

The decision to compete was announced Monday immediately before the floor exercise final was set to begin. Biles had opted to skip that event.

Last Tuesday, Biles, 24, shocked the world by withdrawing from the team final after performing just one vault. She later said that she had a case of the "twisties" — a sensation of losing her position in the air.

Her decision followed trouble with the dismount after her vault. She told fans in a series of Instagram posts later that she was "simply not in sync."

"[W]hat'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," she said.

In a tweet last week, Biles said she was grateful for "the outpouring love & support I've received has made me realize I'm more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.

Biles will join her teammate Sunisa Lee, who won gold in the marquee individual competition last week, to compete in the final gymnastics event of the Games — the balance beam on Tuesday.

The event will give her a chance to win gold in Tokyo, where she had been expected to repeat or better her performance in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, where she won four gold medals.

The beam, however, was not her strongest performance at Rio — her first Olympic competition. Biles won bronze on the beam competition, losing points on the exercise after slipping and having to grab the beam to maintain balance.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.
Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.