Simone Biles reacts to balance beam bronze medal: ‘It’s a little bit sweeter than 2016’

Simone Biles picked up her seventh Olympic medal with a bronze on the balance beam (Picture:: REUTERS)

Simone Biles says her balance beam bronze medal in Tokyo was a ‘little bit sweeter’ than the same medal she won at Rio 2016 after overcoming mental and physical barriers to compete in the final on Tuesday.

The American returned to action after withdrawing from the women’s team and the individual all-around, vault, bars and floor finals as she dealt with mental health struggles and the ‘twisties’ phenomenon which makes landing from twists extremely difficult.

The 24-year-old produced a sparkling routine which put her in second place for much of the event behind Xijing Tang, before 16-year-old Chinese star Chenchen Guan overtook the American and her compatriot with the last routine of the evnet.

Biles was delighted with the medal, though, explaining that she changed her dismount to avoid twisting in the air because of the ongoing ‘twisties’ problem.

‘It definitely feels a little bit sweeter than 2016’s bronze medal,’ Biles told the BBC.

‘I had to go into training and change my dismount. I pulled out of all of my other finals just because I wasn’t cleared to do them and I didn’t think I’d be cleared to do beam.

‘Whenever I was sitting down with medical I was kind of shaking, I was so nervous.

‘It just means the world that I can come out here and compete one more time before this Games was over.’

Going into further detail on the problems she has experience, she explained: ‘On the other ones I physically couldn’t twist in the air, I would just keep crashing and I just wasn’t cleared safely to do those things, my mind’s not there.

Simone Biles was impressive on her return to individual action (Picture: REUTERS)

‘But beam I could safely do, I went into training and asked if I could change my beam dismount because if not I couldn’t do beam either.

‘We went ahead and did that and that’s what you saw.’

At just 24-years-old, Biles could still return for Paris 2024, although she was not ready to commit to another Olympic Games just yet.

‘I feel like I’m stuck on beam right not so it’s definitely too early to start thinking about anything,’ she said of her future.

Simone Biles wins balance beam bronze medal on return to Tokyo Olympics action

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