Olympics-Gymnastics-Biles to compete in balance beam final


FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Gymnastics - Artistic - Women's Team - Final - Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan - July 27, 2021. Simone Biles of the United States wearing a mask REUTERS/Mike Blake

TOKYO (Reuters) - Simone Biles will compete in Tuesday's balance beam final, the last women's event on the Tokyo Olympics gymnastics schedule, officials confirmed 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!" USA Gymnastics said in a statement.

It will be the first time the American will be seen competing in Tokyo following her withdrawal from last Tuesday's women's team final after her opening vault, citing mental health issues.

The 24-year-old American, who won four golds at the 2016 Rio Games, dropped out of the all-around, floor exercise, vault and asymmetric bars finals.

Biles is the reigning world champion on the beam and picked up an Olympic bronze on the apparatus in Rio.

Biles has suffered a crisis of confidence in Tokyo as she dealt with the "twisties" -- where gymnasts are disoriented during their gravity-defying sequences.

"It's honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync," Biles explained in an Instagram story, in which she answered fan questions and shared practice videos.

While a number of difficult acrobatic skills have to be performed on the beam, fast-paced tumbling and aerial twisting manoeuvres are limited on the apparatus, hence providing Biles with the opportunity to add to the team silver medal she picked up last week.

Despite not competing, Biles has been a constant presence at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre over the past week to support her U.S. team mates. Biles cheered on Sunisa Lee, who succeeded her as Olympic all-around champion, and Mykayla Skinner, who stepped in for her in women's vault final on Sunday and won silver.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Tokyo, Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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