Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles stared down the debilitating “twisties” to bravely win Olympic bronze on Tuesday as Norway’s Karsten Warholm lit up the Tokyo athletics competition with a stunning hurdles world record.
Biles pulled out of most of her finals as she battled the disorientating mental block, but she returned in medal-winning style to high excitement at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.
The American four-time gold-medallist, widely considered the “GOAT” (Greatest Of All Time) put in a solid routine including a double backward somersault and double pike dismount, smiling broadly as she was congratulated by her teammates.
Biles was lying in the silver medal position until the final competitor, Chinese 16-year-old Guan Chenchen, stepped up and scored 14.633 points to take first place, pushing teammate Tang Xijing into silver.
China’s Zou Jingyuan won the men’s parallel bars with 16.233 to add Olympic gold to his two world titles on the apparatus.
Earlier, the Olympic Stadium witnessed one of the great races when Warholm shattered his own world record by nearly 0.8sec in an epic 400m hurdles final.
The 25-year-old stormed over the line in 45.94 seconds, pushed hard down the home straight by USA rival Rai Benjamin, who took silver in 46.17 — the second fastest in history.
“I dream about it like a maniac,” Warholm said, adding: “I didn’t touch one hurdle. I was even able to find another gear coming home, so ‘wow’. It’s just so big. “It’s almost like history here.”
There was more drama in the women’s long jump, when Germany’s Malaika Mihambo snatched gold from former champion Brittney Reese with her last leap of the competition.—APP