Simone Biles made an exciting return to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for the first time since the team final event to compete for an individual medal on the balance beam. It was her last chance to make an Olympic podium in Tokyo after she had withdrawn from five other individual event finals. Biles also had to adapt her routine to work around a case of the “twisties,” a phenomenon gymnasts experience in which they feel a disconnect between their body and mind while performing skills that include twists.
The solution was to ditch the full-twisting double-back tuck Biles has performed as her beam dismount for years and replace it with a double-back pike that she hadn’t competed or trained consistently before these Games. Despite just recently switching to the piked dismount, the 24-year-old executed it perfectly off the beam and had only a hop backward on her landing. Biles delivered a steady, strong routine. China’s 16-year-old sensation Guan Chenchen (14.633) won gold, and her teammate Tang Xijing Tag (14.233) took silver. Biles, who entered with just the seventh-highest qualifying score, finished third with a 14.000. This is Biles’ second bronze medal on the event, after she also finished third on beam in Rio in 2016.