Tokyo 2020: Simone Biles Wins Bronze After Mental Health Battle

USA’s Simone Biles poses with her bronze medal during the podium ceremony of the artistic gymnastics women’s balance beam of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on August 3, 2021.
Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Simone Biles made her long-awaited return to the Olympic Games on Tuesday, taking bronze in the beam final won by Chinese teenager Guan Chenchen at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.

It was the US superstar’s first taste of competition in Tokyo since dramatically standing down during the women’s team final last week, struggling with the “twisties”, a condition meaning gymnasts lose the ability to orientate themselves in mid-air.

It was Biles’ seventh Olympic medal, equalling Shannon Miller’s record for an American gymnast.

The four-time gold medallist from the Rio Games received a huge cheer from her US teammates when she entered the arena.

With bib 392 on her back, she filed in with the other eight finalists, blowing a kiss to the cameras.

Another cheer rang out when the stadium announcer said: “And now, representing the United States…Simone Biles..”

 

USA’s Simone Biles attends a training session prior the artistic gymnastics women’s balance beam final of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on August 3, 2021.
Jeff PACHOUD / AFP

 

She looked pensive on her comeback as she waited for her turn to climb up onto the 10cm wide beam for her 90-second routine.

Among the audience was Olympic chief Thomas Bach and two canine cardboard cutouts of her beloved French bulldogs — Lilo and Rambo.

Peeling off her US Team red tracksuit, she practised her dance moves in her star-spangled banner leotard as she waited for her turn as the third to perform.

At 6:11 pm local time (0911 GMT), it was her time. One long week from her first shock withdrawal, the 24-year-old woman from Ohio was finally back at her day job.

Wiping her brow, she approached the beam, chalked up, and finally got the wheels back on her derailed Olympic campaign.

While avoiding any twists incorporated in her favoured and most difficult moves, she put in a solid performance, ending with a double backward somersault, double pike dismount.

Her face breaking into a broad grin, she waved and hugged rivals and team officials, the relief of having performed clear on her face.

Her routine earned the triple world champion on the apparatus 14.000 points.

She was lying second behind Tang Xijing until 16-year-old Guan, the last of the eight finalists to go, put in a superb display to take gold with 14.633 points, relegating Biles to bronze, the same colour she won in Rio.

Bach was one of the first to congratulate her on her comeback, as were ‘Lilo and Rambo’ in their mute manner from the stands after her Tokyo nightmare ended in smiles on the third rung of the beam podium.

-AFP

Simone Biles Out Of Two More Olympic Finals

 

 

Simone Biles has pulled out of two more Olympic finals at the Tokyo Games, USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Saturday, with her entire campaign now in serious doubt.

The 24-year-old gymnastics great came to Tokyo seeking five gold medals to equal the Olympic all-time career record of nine, but withdrew during the women’s team competition and also skipped her all-around title defence, citing mental health issues.

That left Biles, who won four gold medals at the 2016 Rio Games, with a potential four more medal events in Tokyo, but she pulled out of two of those on Saturday.

“After further consultation with medical staff, Simone Biles has decided to withdraw from the event finals for vault and the uneven bars,” the USAG statement said.

“She will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether to compete in the finals for floor exercise and balance beam.”

Biles said on Friday she was struggling with the “twisties”, the mental block that has sidelined her in Tokyo.

The US federation said MyKayla Skinner would compete in the vault finals alongside Jade Carey.

“We remain in awe of Simone, who continues to handle this situation with courage and grace, and all of the athletes who have stepped up during these unexpected circumstances,” the statement said.

Biles posted video on Instagram on Friday of her landing on her back in training, on cushioned pads, and wrote that she was having problems “literally on every event, which sucks”.

She said previous bouts of ‘twisties’ had taken two or more weeks to pass, but there was “honestly no telling (the) time frame”.

Biles, who was bombarded with messages of support after her earlier pull-outs, also hit back at critics, saying: “For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit. My mind and body are simply not in sync as you can see here.”

Biles won a silver medal in the women’s team event because she started the final.

Simone Biles Says ‘Mental Health’ Concerns Led To Olympic Final Withdrawal

USA’s Simone Biles reacts after competing in the artistic gymnastics vault event of the women’s qualification during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on July 25, 2021. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

 

 

Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles said “mental health” concerns had led to her withdrawal from the women’s team final at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.

“I have to do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and my wellbeing,” the 24-year-old American said after her team were beaten by the Russian quartet in her absence.

Biles exited the final at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre after a lacklustre opening vault and walked off the competition floor before returning a short time later.

The US team immediately withdrew her from the rest of the final.

After she joined her teammates to collect their silver medals, four-time Olympic champion Biles confirmed she had not been injured.

 

USA’s Simone Biles gets ready to compete in the uneven bars event of the artistic gymnastics women’s qualification during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on July 25, 2021. (Photo by Loic VENANCE / AFP)

 

She said: “I just don’t trust myself as much as I used to, and I don’t know if it’s age. I’m a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics.

“I feel like I’m also not having as much fun, and I know that this Olympic Games, I wanted it to be for myself,” she said, as she began to cry.

“It just sucks that it happens here at the Olympics Games… with the year that it’s been, I’m really not surprised the way it played out.”

Tokyo Olympics: Simone Biles Out Of Gymnastics Final

USA’s Simone Biles (2ndL) reacts with teammates after finishing second of the artistic gymnastics women’s team final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

 

 

Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles’ participation in the rest of the Tokyo Olympics was plunged into doubt by an unspecified medical issue on Tuesday while Japanese star Naomi Osaka crashed out of the tennis competition.

Biles exited the women’s team final after a lacklustre opening vault and briefly left the competition floor, before returning to join her teammates.

But the US team replaced her in the three remaining routines on the uneven bars, beam, and floor and Biles was reduced to cheering on her team.

“Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,” a statement from USA Gymnastics said. “She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”

Biles, 24, is seeking a fifth Olympic gold of her career in the team final as she chases Soviet great Larisa Latynina’s record of nine gymnastics titles.

 

Silver medalists USA’s Sunisa Lee, USA’s Grace Mc Callum USA’s Simone Biles and USA’s Jordan Chiles wave on the podium of the artistic gymnastics women’s team final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)

 

Osaka, one of the faces of the Games after she lit the Olympic cauldron in the opening ceremony, lost 6-1, 6-4 to Marketa Vondrousova after an error-strewn performance, ending her cherished dream of winning on home soil.

The 23-year-old had not played since May when she walked out of the French Open saying media commitments were harming her mental health.

The second seed was bitterly disappointed at missing out on a chance of Olympic gold, especially after the early exits of world number one Ashleigh Barty and third seed Aryna Sabalenka.

“How disappointed am I? I mean, I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,” said the four-time Grand Slam-winner.

Asked what went wrong, she replied: “Everything — if you watch the match then you would probably see. I feel like there’s a lot of things that I counted on that I couldn’t rely on today.”

– Surfing a golden wave –
Brazil’s Italo Ferreira and America’s Carissa Moore claimed the first-ever Olympic gold medals in surfing.

In the men’s competition Ferreira, who learned his trade standing on the foam box from which his father sold fish, snapped his board on the first wave and had to wait in the sea for a replacement.

But he recovered to score 15.14 to Japanese opponent Kanoa Igarashi’s 6.60 at Tsurigasaki Beach.

“It’s one of the best days of my life for sure,” said the Brazilian. “I was so nervous at the beginning but I just tried to surf and have fun because two months ago I was busy with training and thinking and dreaming and now I’ve got the gold medal.”

Moore, from Hawaii, beat South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag in the women’s final.

– Bermuda glory –
Triathlete Flora Duffy won the first gold of the day in the women’s event, making Bermuda the smallest territory or nation in terms of population to win a gold medal at a Summer Games.

For Duffy it was a welcome reward after persistent injuries and a diagnosis of anaemia in 2013.

“I have achieved my dream of winning a gold medal, but also winning Bermuda’s first gold medal,” she said.

“It’s bigger than me and that’s a really cool moment. That was the longest kilometre of my life (the final one of the run).”

Elsewhere, swimming powerhouses Australia and the United States won one gold medal each in the morning pool session and are on three golds apiece.

Australian world-record holder Kaylee McKeown upstaged American arch-rival Regan Smith to claim the women’s 100m Olympic backstroke crown as Russia and Britain also won golds.

McKeown flew through the water at the Tokyo Aquatic Center to touch in 57.47 seconds, a new Olympic record and only fractionally outside her own world best while Smith had to settle for bronze.

McKeown, who lost her father last year to brain cancer, said: “It’s not necessarily what I’ve been through. Everyone has a journey of their own and it just so happens that mine’s been a really tough one.”

On a day of upsets, American women’s 100m breaststroke world-record holder and defending champion Lilly King was beaten by 17-year-old compatriot Lydia Jacoby and teammate and defending 100m backstroke champion Ryan Murphy also tasted defeat.

Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov took gold in the final, with Murphy pushed into third place.

Britain’s Tom Dean came back from two bouts of coronavirus to edge out team-mate Duncan Scott and win the 200m freestyle.

Simone Biles Gets Own ‘G.O.A.T’ Twitter Emoji

 

 

Win or lose, Simone Biles has already claimed a slice of history at the Tokyo Olympics.

The reigning all-around champion — long-regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time — has become the first athlete to be awarded their own emoji on Twitter.

The social media platform announced Wednesday that it had given Biles her own emoji — a goat wearing a leotard and a gold medal.

The symbol is a reference to Biles’ status as the “G.O.A.T: Greatest of all time” — a tag the 24-year-old Olympian has embraced in recent years.

 

 

“Witness greatness. Tweet with greatness,” the official Twitter Sports account wrote in announcing the emoji.

The symbol is generated by inputting #SimoneBiles or #Simone in Tweets.

Biles recently began competing in a leotard decorated with silver rhinestones in the shape of a goat’s head.

The American star — who has dubbed her personal goat character ‘Goldie’ — says the leotard design is meant to inspire others.

“I just hope that kids growing up watching this don’t or aren’t ashamed of being good at whatever they do,” she said in a recent interview.

“I want kids to learn that, yes, it’s okay to acknowledge that you’re good or even great at something.”

Simone Biles Extends Record To 25 World Gymnastics Medals

USA’s Simone Biles celebrates on the podium after winning the beam apparatus final at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle in Stuttgart, southern Germany, on October 13, 2019. Thomas KIENZLE / AFP

 

 

All-conquering American gymnast Simone Biles won her fifth gold, her second of the day, at the world championships on Sunday in the women’s floor final to extend her own all-time record to 25 worlds medals.

Having earlier won the beam final, the 22-year-old also extended her own record of 19 world championships golds after success earlier this week in Stuttgart in the team, all-round and vault events with the USA.

Biles was crowned world floor champion for the fifth time in her career after winning the final by a full point from team-mate Sunisa Lee, who earned silver with Russia’s Angelina Melnikova taking bronze.

Her double gold success came within a two-hour spell after earlier winning the beam final with China’s Liu Tingting, 19, taking silver with 16-year-old team-mate Li Shijia in bronze place.

Her victories on the beam and floor make Biles the most decorated gymnast in history, surpassing the previous all-time record of 23 world medals won by men’s star Vitaly Scherbo of Belarus in the 1990s.

This is the first time Biles has finished a world championships with five gold medals having said she is “99 percent” sure Stuttgart will be the fifth and final world of her career.

The only blot on Biles’ near-perfect record in south-west Germany came in Saturday’s uneven bars final when she finished fifth.

AFP

Biles Wins Record-Equalling 23rd Worlds Medal

Winner US Simone Biles poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women’s vault after the apparatus finals at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle in Stuttgart, southern Germany, on October 12, 2019. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

US gymnastics queen Simone Biles equalled the all-time record of 23 medals at world championships with the 17th world title of her career in the vault final on Saturday.

The 22-year-old needs only one more medal from her remaining three finals in Stuttgart to overtake Belarusian male gymnast Vitaly Scherbo, with the uneven bars to come later on Saturday.

Biles took her third gold of the week with a winning score of 15.399 points ahead of US team-mate Jade Carey, who finished with silver, while Britain’s Ellie Downie took bronze.

The four-time Olympic champion had already won all-around gold and the team event this week to extend her record of most world gold medals.

Biles retained the vault title she won in Doha last year by excelling on her two attempts, completing two and a half twists on her second effort.

Less than a year before the Tokyo Olympics, Biles can potentially win six medals in Stuttgart with the women’s beam and floor finals to come on Sunday.

AFP

Biles Wins 16th World Gymnastics Title, Fifth All-Around Gold

USA’s Simone Biles performs on the floor in the women‘s all-around final at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle in Stuttgart, southern Germany, on October 10, 2019.  Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

US gymnastics superstar Simone Biles won her 16th world championship gold medal and fifth all-around title in Stuttgart on Thursday.

Biles, 22, earned the 22nd world medal of her career, leaving her just one short of the all-time record, having already won team gold with the USA on Tuesday.

“It’s an honour and it’s super exciting,” she said.

Chinese youngster Tang Xijing, 16, took silver, while Angelina Melnikova of Russia claimed bronze.

Biles’ winning margin of 2.1 points was her biggest at a world championships and was identical to her winning gap in the same event at the 2016 Olympics.

She extended her own record as the most decorated woman in world championships history to leave her just one short of male gymnast Vitaly Scherbo’s all-time record of 23 medals.

She can break Scherbo’s mark in this weekend’s four apparatus finals.

However, she was slightly bewildered by her worlds medal tally and amazed by her own displays in Stuttgart.

“I feel like it’s not me and sometimes I wonder how I do it. I sometimes wish I could have an out-of-body experience to witness it,” she said, laughing.

“I look back at videos and wonder how I did that.”

Biles led from the start, nailing her first discipline with a superb vault which scored 15.223 points.

She followed that up with a solid display on the uneven bars, where she posted the third-highest score, to consolidate her lead.

Biles dominated the beam and sealed gold with the highest score of 14.400 in the floor exercise when she had only needed 12.300 for the title.

She said the hardest thing was “keeping up with the music” during her floor routine.

“I go faster than it, so I feel like it’s harder to slow myself down,” said Biles.

With two golds won and potentially four more medals to come, Biles has put a testing two years behind her.

In January 2018, she revealed she was a victim of Larry Nassar, the disgraced former doctor of the US women’s Olympic team, who was jailed for sexually abusing hundreds of girls and women.

In August, her brother was arrested and charged with a shooting which left three people dead last December.

 ‘She never flies like that’ 

Less than a year out from the Tokyo Olympics, Biles is in dazzling form, but remains haunted by a mistake at the 2016 Games.

She won four golds in Rio de Janeiro, the only blip being a mistake on the beam, which she grabbed during her routine, leaving her with bronze.

Her French coach Laurent Landi said they both relaxed after Biles’ beam performance passed without incident in Stuttgart.

However, he had to calm Biles down before the final floor event with the crowd urging her on.

“I am very proud of her consistency in competition, she now believes she can do that routine any time,” said Landi.

“I still had to ask her to calm down before going into the floor.

“She is running a little bit too fast, feeling the adrenaline and the pressure — she never flies like this in training, only at meets, so she needs to control herself a little bit more.

“But it was the last event, so I would rather have that, than someone who is making a mistake at the end.”

Landi said Biles’ winning margin of 2.1 “should have been three”.

However, a mistake on the uneven bars by Biles’ US team-mate Sunisa Lee, a medal contender who finished eighth, served as a warning.

“You saw that today, we weren’t expecting girls to fall and make tiny mistakes,” said Landi.

“All of a sudden they are off the podium, so even she (Biles) can’t afford to make a mistake.

“Two points is just two falls, which can disappear very quickly, especially on the beam.”

AFP

Biles Wins 15th World Title As US Claim Team Gold

USA’s Simone Biles performs on the beam during the women’s team final at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle in Stuttgart, southern Germany, on October 8, 2019. THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP

 

US gymnastics star Simone Biles clinched a record-extending 15th world championship gold medal on Tuesday as the Americans won the women’s team title in Stuttgart.

Biles, 22, collected her 21st medal at the championships to become the most decorated women’s gymnast, taking her one clear of Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina.

She also moved to within two medals of the all-time record held by Vitaly Scherbo of Belarus, a men’s gymnastics star in the 1990s.

It was a fourth team title for Biles in an event the Americans have dominated for the last eight years.

They claimed gold with a tally of 172.330, well ahead of the Russians who took silver with 166.529, while bronze went to Italy on 164.796.

Biles played a key role in a commanding performance by the USA, earning the most points in three of the four disciplines — the vault, balance beam and floor.

She earned a loud cheer for landing the “Biles II” skill — a triple-twisting double back on the floor — keeping her pre-championship promise to perform it in “every competition” in Stuttgart.

Her huge tally of 15.333 led a US clean sweep in the floor exercises alongside team-mates Jade Carey and Sunisa Lee, to hand the Americans gold.

Biles is expected to add more medals to her dazzling tally as the favourite in the women’s all-around final on Thursday and this weekend’s apparatus finals.

AFP

Djokovic And Biles Win Laureus Sports People Of The Year Awards

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic (R) poses on the red carpet with his wife Jelena before the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony at the Sporting Monte-Carlo complex in Monaco on February 18, 2019. Valery HACHE / AFP

Novak Djokovic’s stupendous comeback from injury last year which saw him win two Grand Slam titles earned him the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award on Monday at a lavish ceremony.

The 31-year-old Serbian — who added the Australian Open in January to the Wimbledon and US Open crowns he won in 2018 after coming back from elbow surgery — won the award for a fourth time beating the likes of France’s World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe and NBA superstar LeBron James.

Iconic American gymnast Simone Biles won Sportswoman of the Year for a second time on the back of the 21-year-old’s historic achievement last year in adding a fourth all-around world championship to her full to bursting medals cabinet.

Djokovic was delighted with his award — voted on by the 68 members of the Laureus Academy which includes sporting legends such as nine-time singles Grand Slam champion Monica Seles and Britain’s six-time Olympic track cycling gold medalist Chris Hoy.

“Last year was an incredible season for me, returning from injury to win Wimbledon and the US Open is something I’ll remember forever,” said Djokovic.

Seles, also born in Serbia although now a naturalised American citizen, presented the award to Djokovic, who admitted it had been a long hard road back mentally as well as physically.

“Reflecting on it standing here now it seems like a fairytale story but it tells me one thing,” he said.

“In those moments of when you are facing adversity and challenged you should always look inside.

“I did not understand that fully before but now I know where I can always find strength and belief and to keep on going.”

Tennis had a golden night as women’s world number one Naomi Osaka — who like Djokovic added the Australian Open to her breakthrough Grand Slam success the US Open — became the first Japanese winner of a Laureus award, the 21-year-old taking the World Breakthrough of the Year gong.

American golf great Tiger Woods was rewarded for his return from years in the wilderness due to injury and personal problems to winning the Tour Championship and going close to adding to his 14 major titles in the British Open and the PGA Championship with the Comeback of the Year award.

“There was a long list of people who wrote him off but I was not one of them,” said former NFL star Marcus Allen.

“When you are anointed with such talent as he is there is always a way back.”

‘To have united them’

Mbappe may have missed out on the main individual award but he along with his World Cup-winning team-mates collected the team of the year prize.

Manager Didier Deschamps — who also captained France to the 1998 World Cup triumph — accepted the award with some members of his backroom staff.

“Being part of the French football team offers one the rare privilege of bringing happiness to the French people,” said Deschamps, who won the same award with his Euro 2000 winning team-mates in 2001.

“We are extremely proud to have brought them such joy last summer and to have united them.”

Deschamps compatriot Arsene Wenger, credited with revolutionising English football certainly in the early part of his over two decades in charge of Arsenal, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The studious 69-year-old Frenchman received his award from one of his former Arsenal stars Cesc Fabregas, who said he had been a father figure to him.

“I would like to thank the wonderful people I met through my career and some less wonderful too,” said Wenger.

“Sport is tremendous I had a long career but my passion for sport and for human beings is intact.”

China’s Xia Boyu’s extraordinary achievement in climbing Everest last May, four decades after losing both legs to frostbite in a previous attempt to conquer it, won the Sporting Moment of the Year which is voted on by the public.

Laureus is a global movement that aims to use the power of sport to tackle social challenges in the world.

AFP

Simone Biles,Russell Westbrook Take Top Prizes At The ESPYS

In front of a crowd filled with athletes and celebrities at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles accepted the award for the Best Female Athlete at the 2017 ESPYS.

NBA star Russell Westbrook, who won the MVP award this year, took home the prize for Best Male Athlete.

U.S. woman’s gymnastics gold medalist, Simone Biles expressed her joy she said.”Thank you guys so much. And most of all I would just like to thank the fans and everyone for voting for me and for believing in my path.

“Ever since Rio, it has been an amazing year and the best part of all is meeting all of the young people who look up to all of the athletes in this room. It is an incredible honor and responsibility of being a role model. And I just want to thank you all of believing in me. It means the world to me. So thank you.”

Oklahoma city thunder ,Russell Westbrook said,”First and foremost I’d like to thank the man above for blessing me with an unbelievable talent, to do what I like to do every single night. Second, I’d like to thank my family, my wife, my mom, my dad, my brother is not here, back home and my unbelievable son Nono at the house, he’ll be watching if he’s not asleep.

“Third I’d like to thank my team mates without them none of this would be possible. Making it easy for me to go out and compete on a high level every single night. So thank you to them.”

The three hour awards show, which was hosted by former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, also saw prizes go to NBA champs Golden State Warriors for Best Team and Michael Phelps who won the award for Record-Setting Performance.

The award for Best Moment in Sports went to the Chicago Cubs winning the baseball world series and breaking a 108 year championship drought for the team. The award was accepted by actor Bill Murray.

The Best Game award went to the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons for their matchup in the Superbowl.

Former first lady Michelle Obama drew a huge standing ovation from the crowd when she named the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver the winner of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for founding the Special Olympics.