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The 24-year-old gymnast decided to take part in the event after pulling out of the individual finals for the vault, floor and uneven bars last week due to mental health concerns and the twisties – which causes gymnasts to become disoriented mid-air – and her determination to take on the 4-inch apparatus paid off as her routine bagged her third place on the podium alongside China’s Chenchen Guan and Tang Xijing.
Simone said of her win: “It feels a little bit sweeter than 2016’s bronze. I had to go into training and change my dismount, I had to pull out of my other finals because I didn’t feel able to clear them.
“But it just means the world that I can come out and compete one more time before the Olympic Games are over.
“On the other finals I physically couldn’t twist in the air, I just kept crashing, so I wasn’t cleared safely to do those things. My mind wasn’t there but with beam I could do it. I just had to change my beam dismount otherwise I couldn’t have done it.”
Simone announced she would take part in the balance beam final on Monday (01.08.21) after changing her routine to a lower difficulty rating than normal and a double pike dismount so that she could keep the twisties at bay for the duration of her performance.
The impressive routine saw her keep hold of silver position until China snapped up the gold and silver medal with a 14.6 performance from Chenchen and a 14.23 from Tang – pushing Simone’s 14.0 into third place.
Simone previously pulled out of the women’s team final after losing her bearings in the air during her opening vault.
She also decided not to compete in the individual all-around, vault, bars and floor finals due to the mental block.
She explained on Instagram: “For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync. I don’t think you [understand] how dangerous this is on a hard/competition surface.”