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2 Aug, 2021 10:37

American gymnastics superstar Simone Biles will return to Olympic Games action in the balance beam final, Team USA announces

American gymnastics superstar Simone Biles will return to Olympic Games action in the balance beam final, Team USA announces

Self-proclaimed gymnastics great Simone Biles will return to Olympic competition by going for gold in Tokyo on Tuesday evening, after a troubled week in which she pulled out of two events at the Games citing mental health issues.

Biles arrived in Japan with a chance to compete for five gold medals in total, only to suffer from the 'twisties' – a mental block preventing a gymnast from safely performing high-risk moves required to compete at the top level – on the opening vault of the women's team final, withdrawing from that event to protect her mental health.

The four-time gold medalist at the 2016 Games then pulled out of the individual all-round won by Sunisa Lee, the vault and the uneven bars and floor finals. 

In a statement on Monday, USA Gymnastics confirmed that Biles will join Lee in the balance beam decider.

"We are so excited to confirm that you will see two US athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow," they said in the statement. "Suni Lee and Simone Biles. Can’t wait to watch you both."

Biles has been praised for roaring on her fellow US gymnasts despite her personal problems.

The 24-year-old was seen giving Jade Carey a standing ovation at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre before screaming loudly for the athlete who had assumed her place in the ongoing floor final. 

"For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit – my mind and body are simply not in sync," Biles has said in response to her critics.

"I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on a hard competition surface."

Her latest attempt is likely to be the last quest for gold for the US gymnastic team's oldest competitor, who will be 27 at Paris 2024. Lee is 18.

Teammate and vault silver medalist Mykayla Skinner, who won silver, has insisted to reporters that Biles is handling the furor "better than I thought".

"Every day she's been laughing and giggling, super supportive, and I'm sure when she gets home it'll probably hit her more. Right now, she's around all of us," said Skinner.

"She's still probably going to be competing, so I'm sure she's trying to stay in the game.

"Honestly, she's been the happiest person and I'm so grateful to see, after everything she's been through, that she's making the best of it."

Also on rt.com US gymnast Simone Biles praised for her ‘courage and grace’ as she pulls out of yet more Olympic events