Simone Biles stuck the landing. The American gymnastics superstar won bronze during the balance beam final on Tuesday, a week after she took herself out of several competitions to focus on her mental health.
Biles earned her seventh career Olympic medal - tied with Shannon Miller for the most by an American in gymnastics - by drilling a slightly watered-down version of her usual routine in front of a crowd that included IOC President Thomas Bach.
Biles, using a double-pike dismount - no twisting required - posted a score of 14.000. That was good enough for bronze behind the Chinese duo of gold medalist Guan Chenchen (14.633) and Tang Xijing (14.233).
Olympic all-around champion Sunisa Lee of the United States finished fifth. The 18-year-old Lee won three medals in Tokyo, including silver in the team final and bronze on uneven bars.
Biles arrived on the floor about 90 minutes before the competition started, wearing a red, white and blue leotard emblazoned with nearly 5,000 crystals. If she was nervous, it hardly showed. She warmed up as if it was just another day back in the gym her family owns in the northern Houston suburbs. Twice she hopped onto the beam to do a run-through of her routine and she stuck her double-pike dismount to applause from the stands and the whir of dozens of cameras.
Biles arrived in Tokyo as the face of the U.S. contingent in Japan and perhaps the Games themselves. Yet the brilliance she's summoned so easily for so long during her run atop the sport came undone after qualifying on July 25.
She bailed out of her vault during the first rotation of the team finals on July 27, then stunningly removed herself from the competition as a matter of protection because she was having difficulty locating herself in the air. She later described the phenomenon as "the twisties" and subsequently pulled out of the all-around, uneven bars, floor exercise and vault finals.
The decision amplified increased attention on the importance of mental health in sports in general and among Olympians specifically. Add it to the growing list of movements the 24-year-old Biles has become a touchstone for during her rise to stardom.
She's spent the last week continuing to train and be evaluated by team physician Dr. Marcia Faustin while doubling as lead cheerleader for a U.S. women's team that has racked up some serious hardware in her absence.
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Lee became the fifth straight American woman to capture the all-around title and added a bronze on uneven bars. MyKayla Skinner, placed into the vault final after Biles scratched, soared to silver. On Monday, Jade Carey's long journey to the Olympics ended with a victory on floor exercise after Biles gave her a pep talk following a nightmarish vault performance in which she tripped at the end of the runway and narrowly avoided serious injury.
Her return to competition on beam served as a fitting ending to her Olympic experience. She earned bronze on the event in Brazil five years ago thanks in part by reaching down to grab the 4-inch piece of wood after she slipped. The decision cost her gold but assured her of a fifth medal and the one, in retrospect, she said she's most proud of.
While she hasn't officially announced her retirement - she's hinted that she might want to stick around in some fashion until the 2024 Paris Games to honor coaches Laurent and Cecile Landi, who are both French - a long layoff awaits. She's headlining a post-Olympic tour through the fall but stressed recently she plans to stay close to the sport.
If Tuesday night was her official goodbye, she did it on her terms. Just like she has for most of an eight-year elite career that pushed the boundaries of gymnastics and saw her achieve the kind of crossover success typically reserved for sprinters like Usain Bolt and swimmers like Michael Phelps.
The women's rights group UltraViolet on Monday added its voice to the chorus of condemnation of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy after the California Republican joked how difficult it would be to not beat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the chamber's gavel should he win her job following the 2022 midterm elections.
McCarthy's comments came during a Tennessee Republican Party fundraiser on Saturday, at which he was presented with an oversized gavel.
"I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel," McCarthy said of the California Democrat, according to audio footage tweeted by Main Street Nashville reported Vivian Jones. "It'll be hard not to hit her with it."
In a statement, UltraViolet communications director Bridget Todd said that McCarthy's "comments threatening violence against Speaker Pelosi are disgraceful, misogynistic, and wholly unacceptable. It should not be lost on anyone that Minority Leader McCarthy's comments directly echo the violent online harassment, and real world violence manifested in the January 6th insurrection, that threatens the life of Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a regular basis."
These statements have implications not just for the safety of Speaker Pelosi and other women in Congress, but also for all women in the form of policy. With Kevin McCarthy voting against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, it is clear that his comments are reflective of his deeply held beliefs about how women should be treated and valued.
"The fact that McCarthy has not yet apologized for his dangerous, inciting words should send a clear signal to everyone that he is not fit to serve as a member of Congress, or in any position of elected responsibility," Todd added. "He should resign."
Prominent Democrats also condemned McCarthy's remarks, with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) asserting that "America has suffered enough violence around politics" in a tweet calling for the minority leader's resignation.
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) tweeted: "Kevin McCarthy thinks joking about hitting a woman is funny. When someone shows you who they are, believe them."
The incident comes 10 months after five Democratic congresswomen—Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.)—introduced a House resolution urging the federal government to "adopt policies that promote women's political participation and mitigate violence against women in politics, in person and online, in the United States and abroad."
QAnon followers grow restless — which could lead to violence — as Mike Lindell again delays Trump reinstatement timeline
QAnon followers are growing restless — and could turn to violence, officials have warned — as MyPillow founder Mike Lindell continues to push back a timeline for his conspiracy theory about former president Donald Trump's reinstatement to office.
Lindell previously said Trump's reinstatement would happen sometime this month, following a "symposium" where it would somehow be revealed that Trump in fact won the 2020 presidential election, even though he did not.
But on Monday, Lindell told the Daily Beast that it could be September (or perhaps even later) before Trump is reinstated based on false claims of election fraud — assuming Lindell doesn't reschedule again.
"We'll be bringing our findings to the Supreme Court in late August or early September, some time after the cyber-symposium ends, and it proves it was an attack by China," Lindell said. "When I gave my prediction about August, and that was several months ago, that was an estimate at the time. But it took so long to get this symposium set up. However long it takes for the Supreme Court to take it up and decide on this, I can't predict that. I'm not the Supreme Court."
Meanwhile, QAnon followers who previously adopted Lindell's August timeline have been busy concocting new conspiracy theories, including that Trump's reinstatement will coincide with an upcoming test of the nation's Emergency Alert System, when the former president could announce mass arrests of Democrats, the Daily Beast reports. Others have pointed to the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant as a sign that Democrats are planning mid-August "lockdowns" to distract from voter fraud, while still others say vaccine mandates for military service members will inspire an armed forces result. QAnon influencer Ron Watkins claimed Monday that a "whistleblower" release of manuals for voting machines made by Dominion will lead to the election being overturned, even though those manuals were already publicly available.
Although QAnon followers are used to false prophecies, some expressed frustration with Watkins. "Let's see some sh*t because we are all tired of waiting and trusting," one wrote in response.
And their growing frustration could easily morph into violence, as the Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly warned. The Daily Beast cites a recent study by the Global Network on Extremism and Technology
"Perhaps the largest concern arising from these failed predictions is that QAnon supporters are beginning to feel led to take matters into their own hands after seeing that they cannot expect political or military leaders to implement their vision," the study's authors wrote. "In this case, the failed predictions of the past may well spur some QAnon supporters to take direct action and fuel a new, more dangerous, stage in the development of the movement."
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