Simone Biles Wins Balance Beam Bronze Medal on Return to Tokyo Olympics

Simone Biles
Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Simone Biles earned a third place bronze medal in the balance beam final on Tuesday after returning to the Tokyo Olympics.

Wearing the number 392, Biles was the second gymnast to perform. She looked strong and confident, and beamed a huge smile of relief after making a solid landing. Her grin slipped somewhat after learning of her score, 14.0, which placed her behind China’s Tang Xijing. Biles’s score comprised 6.1 points for the difficulty of the routine and 7.9 for its execution.

She was eventually reduced to third place by the eighth competitor China’s Guan Chenchen who went top with a 14.633 score.

Biles, the reigning world champion on balance beam, won the bronze medal for the event at the 2016 Rio Olympics. In addition to the bronze, she earned gold medals in all-around, vault, floor and as part of the U.S. team.

Biles shocked the world last week when she withdrew from the gymnastics team final. She was replaced by teammate Jade Carey, who placed eighth. Biles later pulled out from the individual all-around competition, and individual finals in the vault, uneven bars and floor exercise.

During her one rotation on the vault, the first event of the team final, Biles earned 13.766 — the lowest score of her Olympic career. A few moments later, it was announced that Biles had withdrawn from the rest of the competition.

The U.S. nabbed silver following Biles’ exit.

After her exit on Tuesday, Biles told Hoda Kotb on NBC’s “Today” that she was concerned about her mental health. “Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape. Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being a head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”

The four-time Olympic gold medalist was showered with praise from Hollywood, fellow athletes and fans following her decision to withdraw from her events, with former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeting, “We are proud of you.”

USA Gymnastics was quick to praise Biles’ resolve. In a Twitter message the organization said simply “Leading by example. Simone Biles closed the show with a (bronze medal) at the Balance Beam Final today!”

In a second message, its said: “All smiles for Biles. What a show of perseverance and strength, closing this Olympic campaign with a bronze medal!”