American gymnast Simone Biles took bronze in the balance beam competition after returning to the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old superstar, who won four gold medals in 2016 during the games in Rio de Janeiro, withdrew last week after she announced concerns over her mental health.
Biles has now earned her seventh career medal after scoring a strong 14.000 on Tuesday. She had previously also won a bronze medal on the balance beam during the 2016 Olympics.
She finished behind Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing, both from China—who took home the silver and gold medal. Chenchen took gold with a 14.633 score, and her 18-year-old teammate took silver with 14.233.
Biles said she wasn’t expecting to take home a medal upon her return, explaining it meant “the world” for her to just be able to perform again after she was “cleared to do beam” by doctors who medically evaluated the Olympic athlete daily.
“It’s been a long five years. I was just happy to be able to perform regardless of the outcome,” Biles said. “I did it for me and I was just proud of myself for being able to compete one more time.”
— Olympics (@Olympics) August 3, 2021
“Every day I had to be medically evaluated by the doctors here, and two sessions with the sports psychologists here as well, which helped to keep me a little more level-headed,” she added. “I was cleared to do beam which I honestly didn’t think I was going to be cleared to do last night.”
Biles said the health issue she struggled with was an attack of the “twisties”—a sort of mental block in which gymnasts lose their sense of orientation while doing twists and gravity-defying mid-air tumbles.
She was competing in the team final—where she won a silver medal—at the time she announced her withdrawal, saying it was a necessity for her physical safety.
“It was something that was so out of my control,” Biles said. “But the outcome I had, at end of the day, my mental and physical health is better than any medal. So I couldn’t be mad.”
Reuters contributed to this report.
From NTD News