Watch Simone Biles compete on the balance beam | Tokyo Olympics


When Simone Biles took to the beam in the event final at the Tokyo Olympics, the world held their collective breath. It had been a week since Biles retired from the team final after experiencing the “twisties”, a mental block that had caused him to get lost in the air during his jump in the first rotation. She would go on to explain that she couldn’t “even imagine the twist”, and that unlike the fights she had had before, this case of twisties had affected her skills on all gear.

It would have been dangerous for Biles to participate in any of the events she had qualified for, so one by one she withdrew – until finally she was medically cleared to play on balance beam. This would be her last chance to compete in these Olympics, and given that she had to downgrade her outing – which is usually a double backflip to double twist – in order to compete safely, all it takes is a performance that she could. to be proud would be enough victory. And that’s exactly what Biles did. The moment her feet hit the mat at the end of her routine, she was beaming.

That this routine earned Biles a bronze medal – the seventh Olympic medal of his career – seemed almost secondary. This was his Olympic moment, with his coaches, teammates and competitors cheering him on. See the full routine and its reaction in the clip above.

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