The six-time Olympic medallist will return to the final after withdrawing from several other gymnastics events owing to "twisties."
Star gymnast Simone Biles is expected to head back to the Tokyo Olympics for the balance beam final, USA Gymnastics says. The final, scheduled to take place on Tuesday this week, is also the last day of artistic gymnastics in the Japanese capital city. The announcement came on Monday, via a Twitter post from the official USA Gymnastics profile. Along with the six-time Olympic medallist, all-around champion Sunisa Lee will also take her place in the finals. Fans from across the world are excited to witness Biles's return to the floor after light was shed on her struggle with twisties, that is, a mental block that affects many of the difficult skills she utilizes in competition, The Guardian reports.
USA Gymnastics posted, "We are so excited to confirm that you will see two United States athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow: Suni Lee AND Simone Biles! Can’t wait to watch you both!" Some individuals were, as expected, incredibly hopeful for Biles's return. One Twitter user stated, "Biles could show up and sneeze on the beam then leave and I’d still be proud of her." Another added, "This is the gold medal she’s been saying she wants the most, but I’m hoping she snatches any medal, and most of all, I’m so happy she’s feeling okay enough to compete now."
Others, however, were more critical. "How can someone rehabilitate their mental health in a week," one person wrote. "Something doesn’t quite add up." Last week, Biles opened up about how her poor mental health affected her performance during the Olympics. She shared on Instagram, "For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync as you can see here. I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on a hard/competition surface."
According to the gymnast, mental blocks have in the past only affected her on vault and floor routines. However, this time, they have had an impact on all events and on her twisting skills in particular. Therefore, it makes some sense that Biles will return for the balance beam final; she typically attempts fewer twists than all other events and hence may feel more comfortable on the balance beam. Since her withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics, the gymnast has spent time training at an unspecified location in the city. There, she was able to safely train her skills into a foam pit. Meanwhile, on competition days, she has spent time cheering on her own teammates as well as several other gymnasts from other countries.
Biles had originally arrived at the 2020 Olympics with the realistic chance of competing for five gold medals. Unfortunately, after losing herself in the air during her opening vault during the women’s team final, she was forced to withdraw from the final in order to shield her mental health. At the time, the six-time Olympic medallist claimed she would decide on her participation in each event by re-evaluating daily. Now, her fans and fellow gymnasts will have the opportunity to cheer her on during the balance beam finals.