Her much-awaited return after struggling with mental-health concerns and disorientation during her acrobatics put the spotlight firmly on the athlete who’s widely considered the best gymnast ever.
She didn’t shrink from it. Biles appeared confident in her more conservative balance beam routine and nailed a double-pike dismount. It wasn’t vintage Biles, who won the world championship on the beam in 2019, but it was mature Biles.
“I had nerves, but I felt pretty good,” she said, reported The Associated Press.
The color of the medal seemed irrelevant, and the achievement left Biles, 24, with seven medals, tied with Shannon Miller for the most won by an American gymnast. One of them was a bronze on the beam at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I’ll treasure this one a lot more after everything I have been through,” she said.
A week has passed since Biles abruptly dropped out of the team competition after a wonky vault. She spoke frankly of her struggles amid the pressure and withdrew from the all-around and three of the individual events as well.
But she appeared smiling and ready for what could be a last moment on the Olympic stage.
“This one is definitely sweeter,” she said of the bronze.