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Simone Biles Competed In Olympic Balance Beam Finals - Still The Most Decorated American Gymnast Ever

Simone Biles Competed In Olympic Balance Beam Finals - Still The Most Decorated American Gymnast Ever

The return of the G.O.A.T.

Simone Biles competed in the Olympic balance beam finals and won bronze, continuing her streak as the most accomplished gymnast of our time. Biles now has a total of 32 Olympic and world medals, matching Larisa Latynina of the Soviet Union, though Biles has more golds in total. She also has seven Olympic medals, tying Shannon Miller as the most successful American gymnast in the Games. However, Biles has four golds to Miller's two.

Biles took the world by surprise when she withdrew from the Olympic team competitions and several individual events. The gymnastics phenoms mental health concerns and a horrible case of the "twisties," a phenomenon where gymnasts lose their sense of direction while in air, were the cause. Her withdrawal elevated the conversation of mental health for athletes, and she received a ton of support from across the globe for her decision.ย 

"It was something that was so out of my control," Biles said. "But the outcome I had, at end of the day, my mental and physical health is better than any medal. So I couldn't be mad."

The Tokyo Olympics have already had its fair share of controversy, taking place without spectators and during the middle of an ongoing global pandemic. With Biles out of the all-around, floor exercise, vault, and asymmetric bars final in Tokyo, many thought the superstar athlete was content with sitting out the rest of the games entirely and focusing on herself. When the 24-year-old announced that she was returning for the balance beam finals to close out the Olympics, the world rejoiced.

"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!! Can't wait to watch you both," U.S.A. Gymnastics said via statement.

Thankfully, the balance beam event didn't require mid-air jumps or twirls that might hinder Biles' physical health due to her current condition. According to theย Associated Press, Biles and coach Cecile Landi adjusted her routine to ease her anxiety. She switched out a dismount that required her to twist for one with two simpler backflips instead, a skill she hadn't done in competition in half her lifetime. Even though she wasn't pulling out all the stops, as usual, her greatness still shined through, earning her a 14.000, good enough for third behind Chinese teammates Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing. She is the reigning world champion on the beam and last took home a bronze medal during the Olympic Games in Rio.

Biles previously made it clear that she would prioritize her mental health above all else before returning,ย The Washington Postย reported.ย 

"We also have to focus on ourselves because, at the end of the day, we're human, too, so we have to protect our mind and our body rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do," she said.

When asked if she would change anything during her time at the Tokyo Olympics, the Olympian said, "Nothing. I would change nothing."

Congratulations Simone! We are all rooting for you!

Photo Courtesy ofย Today