Tokyo Olympics: Simone Biles to compete in balance beam final after pulling out of events over mental health concerns

Simone Biles, who has pulled out of several events at the Tokyo Olympics citing the need to protect her mental health, will compete in the balance beam final, USA Gymnastics has said.

“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 four-time Olympic gold medallist ruled herself out of the vault and uneven bars finals, as well as from the all-round final.

She also removed herself from the team final on 27 July after a shaky performance on the vault during the first rotation.

She watched on, cheering, as her three American teammates carried on without her, finishing second behind the Russian Olympic Committee.

Biles has become something of a fixture in the stands supporting Lee, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey in their event finals.

She qualified for all five individual event finals but took herself out of four of them, ending her hopes of finishing the games with a career total of 10 Olympic medals.

The balance beam final, the last women’s event on the Tokyo Olympics gymnastics schedule, is on Tuesday, officials confirmed on Monday.

The gymnast won bronze on beam in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.

Simone Biles (right) dropped out of the gymnastics event on Tuesday for
Biles (right) celebrating after the USA took silver in the team event

Biles, 24, said she was dealing with issues surrounding air awareness, referred to as “the twisties” in gymnastics.

The four-time gold medal-winner from Rio posted since deleted videos showing her getting lost in the air on two attempts at her uneven bars dismount, a double-twisting, double back, said.

Previously, Biles explained she had only suffered from the twisties on floor and vault and Tokyo is the first time they have affected other events.

She said: “They’re not fun to deal with. It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill… not having your mind and body in sync.”

Simone Biles won four gold medals and a bronze at Rio 2016. Pic: AP
Biles won four gold medals and a bronze at Rio 2016. Pic: AP

Biles has been praised for her bravery in confronting her challenges with mental health.

Team GB’s Max Whitlock, who has retained his pommel horse title, told Sky News: “Simone, what she’s done here, I think she’s shown a lot of bravery. And that definitely wasn’t an easy decision for her to do, to pull out [of her Olympics events].

“So I think we have to listen to our bodies, we have to listen to our minds, we have to make sure we are in the right place to be doing what we are doing.

“This sport is dangerous, there’s no doubt about that and your headspace is one of the key things that you have to get right to compete well.

“If it’s not, then it can be dangerous. The risk increases and a lot of things can happen which you don’t want to happen.”

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