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Gymnast Biles fights off fears to claim Olympic bronze

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U.S. gymnast Simone Biles on Tuesday (August 3) stepped onto the balance beam in Tokyo and won an Olympic bronze medal in a stunning come-back for the champion athlete.

Her award comes just seven days after she shocked the world by withdrawing from the team competition at the Tokyo Games.

Biles said she was struggling with mental health issues, and what gymnasts describe as the "twisties," where they lose their sense of orientation mid-air.

She pulled out of every competition except for the beam.

Biles wowed the world at the Rio Games in 2016, taking home four gold medals and one bronze. She'd been widely expected to add to that tally in Tokyo.

Biles later said she hadn't expected to be able to compete at all, making the bronze she won "much sweeter" than the one from Rio.

The 24-year-old said "Every day I had to be medically evaluated by the doctors here, and two sessions with the sports psychologists here as well, which helped to keep me a little more level-headed."

"I was cleared to do beam which I honestly didn't think I was going to be cleared to do last night."

Her struggles were compounded by pressure on social media and criticism that the star had given up.

Biles on Tuesday told reporters "at the end of the day it’s just like you have to be a little bit more mindful what you say online because you have no idea what these athletes are going through."

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