She competed alongside Sunisa Lee in the balance beam final, which began at 4 a.m. Eastern time and won a bronze medal. Lee finished in fifth place.
“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 said in a statement.
The Associated Press reported at about 2:30 a.m. Eastern time that Biles was warming up for the balance beam final. She walked onto the floor in red sweatpants with a blue shirt alongside teammate and Olympic champion Sunisa Lee, the AP reported. Eight women competed in the beam final beginning at 4:45 a.m. Eastern time, and Biles was scheduled to go third. Watch video of her full routine here or later in this post.
Coverage of the event will began at 4 a.m. Eastern time on Peacock, which you can watch here or livestream on NBC here. The event finals began at 4:45 a.m., or 5:45 p.m. in Tokyo. If you missed the live coverage, you can watch it again on NBC beginning with the tape delay prime time coverage at 8 p.m. Eastern time. You can also watch a clip of Biles’ full routine on the balance beam here or later in this post.
Here’s what you need to know:
Biles’ Health Was Evaluated Until She Decided to Return for the Balance Beam Finals
Biles announced she would withdraw from the all-around competition and many individual sports early in the 2021 Olympic games, saying she was experiencing “the twisties” and made the decision to focus on her mental health. The Associated Press reported “the twisties” is an industry term used to describe the loss of an ability to determine location in the air.
Biles had qualified for all five individual event finals but decided to remove herself from four of them: the all-around, vault, floor exercise and uneven bars.
Teammate Jade Carey, who won gold for her floor exercise Monday, August 2, told the Associated Press she was happy to see Biles return.
“I’m really proud of her for coming back,” she said, according to the AP. “She’s been through a lot this Olympics so I’m really proud and happy to see her going after beam.”
Famed Olympic Gymnast Kerri Strug Made a Statement Supporting Biles’ Decision to Withdraw
Among Biles’ supporters was Kerri Strug, a 1996 women’s gymnastics athlete famed for her one-legged vault after she was injured. Strug, who was 18 at the time, was injured when she missed her landing on her first vault, then made a second vault on her injured ankle. She stuck the landing, then immediately lifted her injured leg before collapsing to her knees in tears.
The vault was an iconic moment in Olympics history that became controversial after spectators questioned whether she made the decision on her own to vault through the injury, or whether now-defamed women’s gymnastics Coach Bela Karolyi forced her to vault again in a culture that valued medals over health. Strug’s vault was revisited after Biles’ decision to withdraw, and fans asked the question, “Did Kerri Strug want to vault?”
Strug was quoted on her website as saying she made the decision on her own to vault again.
“No one made me do the second vault,” she said, according to the website. “My coach, Bela Karolyi, encouraged me to do it by yelling positive affirmations to me such as, ‘Kerri, you can do it!’ I was the one that decided that I would and could do the vault again. I wanted to show the world how hard I had worked, that I could do the vault well, and to make sure we would win the team gold.”
Whether or not Strug’s decision to vault while injured was influenced by anyone else, she stood behind Biles’ decision to withdraw from competition.
“Sending love to you @Simone_Biles.-Team UNITED States of America,” she wrote.