Simone Biles earned her seventh Olympic medal on Tuesday after she returned to the games to compete in the women’s beam final.
Biles’ beam routine received a 14.000 score and she was awarded a bronze medal, reported ESPN. The medal makes her tied for the most decorated gymnast in Olympian history with Shannon Miller. However, Biles has earned four gold medals while Miller earned two.
“I’m pretty happy. I wasn’t expecting to medal. I just came out here and tried to do a good beam set,” Biles said at a news conference following the beam final, per People Magazine. “I switched my dismount last minute because of everything going on.”
“Just to have one more opportunity to compete at the Olympics means the world to me. I just was trying to go out there and hit a good beam set and compete one more time at these Olympic Games because I qualified for all five finals but then I pulled out,” she continued. “It sucked but I was excited to be in the stands and cheering for all of Team USA.”
Her surprise return came a week after she withdrew from the team final and other individual competition to focus on her mental health and recover from the “twisties.” The latter is a condition which affects a gymnast ability to know where they are in the air and could interfere with their ability to make a safe landing.
Biles reaffirmed her commitment to maintaining her mental health following the competition.
“To bring up the topic of mental health, I think it should be talked about a lot more, especially with athletes because I know some of us are going through the same things, and we’re always told to push through it, but we are all a little older now, and we can kind of speak for ourselves,” she said.
“At the end of the day, we’re not just entertainment,” Biles added. “We’re human, and there are things going on behind the scenes that we’re also trying to juggle with, as well, on top of sports.”
Sunisa Lee, Biles’ teammate, came in fifth place in the beam final. The gold and silver medals went to Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing, both from China.