Simone Biles plans to compete in balance beam final in Tokyo


Tokyo — Simone Biles plans to take part in the balance beam final at the Tokyo Olympics Tuesday, USA Gymnastics said. She pulled out of the other individual finals she qualified for, citing mental health issues.

The beam is her last chance to compete in the 2020 Games.

USA Gymnastics said Suni Lee will also compete in that final.

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!

— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) August 2, 2021

The 24-year-old Biles won bronze on beam in Rio de Janeiro five years ago and qualified for the eight-woman final at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre on the first weekend of the Games.

She removed herself from the team final on July 27 after a shaky performance on vault during the first rotation. She watched from the sidelines as her three American teammates completed the meet without her; the U.S. took silver behind the team known as the Russian Olympic Committee.

Simone Biles of Team United States stumbles upon landing after competing in vault during the Women’s Team Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 27, 2021.

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Biles qualified for all five individual event finals but took herself out of four of them: the all-around, vault, floor exercise and uneven bars. Lee earned the gold in the all-around, becoming the fifth straight American to claim the sport’s marquee title,  

Biles said she was dealing with issues surrounding air awareness, referred to as “the twisties” in her sport.

“I can’t even fathom twisting. I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist,” Biles wrote on Instagram, attempting to explain how the twisties feel. “Strangest and weirdest thing as well as feeling.” 

“It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind and body in sync,” she explained. “10/10 do not recommend.” 

“Literally can not tell up from down. It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body,” she continued. “What’s even scarier is since I have no idea where I am in the air I also have NO idea how I am going to land. Or what I am going to land on. Head/hands/feet back…”

Biles also continued to defend her decision to remove herself from competition for her own safety. 

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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