Performing a routine filled with difficulty but performed with grace, Guan Chenchen of China, the youngest competitor on Tuesday, won the gold medal in the balance beam at the Tokyo Games. Simone Biles, in her much-anticipated return, won bronze and another Chinese athlete, Tang Xijing, won silver.
Guan, who is 16 and in her first Olympics, is a specialist on the balance beam and it showed at these Games. With a routine much more difficult than that of her competitors, she had qualified first for the balance beam final.
On Tuesday, she was the eighth and last gymnast to compete and she nailed split leaps, back handsprings, flips and an aerial before flying into the air for her double pike dismount and landing to applause in the arena. Her score of 14.633 was enough to put her ahead of everyone.
Tang finished second for the silver medal. Biles, in her return to competition after suffering a mental health issue last week that caused her to skip several events at the Tokyo Games, finished third with a routine less difficult than usual, winning the bronze.