Simone Biles won a bronze medal in the women’s beam on her emotional return to competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The American, widely considered the greatest gymnast of all time, was visibly relieved after producing a strong routine awarded a score of 14.000.
But 16-year-old Guan Chenchen grabbed gold with the last routine of the final, scoring 14.633. Chinese team-mate Xijing Tang took silver with 14.233.
Biles pulled out during the team event last week citing mental health struggles and also decided against taking her place in other individual finals.
The 24-year-old’s decision sparked renewed debate about the psychological toll of elite sport. Cricketer Ben Stokes and swimmer Adam Peaty have since announced they are taking breaks from sport.
Bronze on the beam adds to Biles’s silver from the team event and is her seventh Olympic medal, equalling a US gymnastic record.
“It definitely feels a little bit sweeter than my 2016 bronze medal,” she said.
“In the other events, I physically couldn’t twist in the air. I would just keep crashing and I just wasn’t cleared safely to do those things.
“I pulled out of my other finals because I wasn’t clear to do them. I didn’t think I was going to be clear to beam; it means the world that I can compete one more time before this Games is over.”