Published On: Mon, Aug 2nd, 2021

Simone Biles plans to compete in Olympics balance beam final

Gymnastics legend Simone Biles plans to compete in the balance beam final Tuesday, USA Gymnastics confirmed Monday, after she withdrew from several competitions to focus on her mental health.

“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,” USA Gymnastics tweeted.

The balance beam competition is scheduled to begin at 5:50 p.m. Tuesday, which is 4:50 a.m. EDT, the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo.

Biles, widely considered the world’s best gymnast, shocked the world last week by suddenly withdrawing during the team gymnastics final. The 24-year-old said the emotional toll of the Tokyo Games, not a physical injury, prompted her to withdraw.

“Physically, I feel good. I’m in shape,” she told Hoda Kotb on NBC’s “TODAY” show following her exit. “Emotionally, it varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn’t an easy feat.”

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Since then, Biles did not compete in events including the individual all-around and uneven bars finals. Her return will be celebrated by fans the world over as her withdrawal has become one of the biggest stories from this Olympic Games.

The Tokyo Olympics were meant to be a showcase for Biles, a four-time gold medalist who has wowed the gymnastics world with her talent. Instead, it has thrust her into the conversation around mental health and sports.

“For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync as you can see here,” Biles wrote Friday in an Instagram post. “I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health.”

Biles addedthat she was still suffering with “the twisties” and “literally can not tell up from down.”

She has received widespread support from other athletes, including the retired U.S. Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps who has spoken openly about his own struggles with depression.

“We carry a lot of things, a lot of weight on our shoulders,” he said in an interview with the NBC sportscaster Mike Tirico. “And it’s challenging, especially when we have the lights on us and all of these expectations that are being thrown on top of us.”

Corky Siemaszko contributed.

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