Tokyo Olympics: Simone Biles set to return in balance beam final

AFP

Simone Biles is set to make her long-awaited return in the Tokyo Olympics after being named on the starting list for Tuesday's balance beam final.

The United States star withdrew from the other four individual events for which she had qualified after pulling out of the women's team competition after just one rotation.

Biles, who won four gold medals at the Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, cited a need to focus on her mental health as she chose not to contest the individual all-round, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise finals.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Sunday: "Simone has withdrawn from the event final for floor and will make a decision on beam later this week. Either way, we're all behind you, Simone."

However, the team announced via Twitter on Monday: "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!! Can’t wait to watch you both!"

Speaking last week via Instagram, Biles explained her mind and body were "simply not in sync" as she struggled with a mental block over her technique.

"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 on her story. "I don't think you realise how dangerous this is on a hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health.

"It's honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind [and] body in sync.

"Literally cannot tell up from down. It's the craziest feeling ever, not having an inch of control over your body."

Jeff Henderson, who won long jump gold for the USA in Rio, praised Biles for speaking openly about her difficulties.

"Almost every athlete [has these problems]. They just don’t speak on it," Henderson told Stats Perform.

"Every athlete goes through a mental breakdown or [has to] figure out their brain, what to do, over-thinking - that’s every athlete.

"I think it should be awareness for every athlete to have that issue because it's a huge thing to be protective of. If you're not protective of your mental [state], you're not going to do anything physical.

"There's nothing wrong with that. Any athlete would say take your time, relax, get your mental right come back when you're going to be ready. Every athlete would say that."


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