Simone Biles says she’s proud of herself for winning bronze during her stunning return to the Olympic gymnastics competition.

The 24-year-old gymnast returned for the beam final at the games in Tokyo and received a warm welcome as she stepped into the arena.

She said: “I didn’t expect a medal today, I just wanted to go out there for me and that’s what I did.

“I was proud of myself just to go out there after what I’ve been through.”

Biles had not competed since last week’s team final, where she dropped out in order to protect her mental health.

The American star pulled out of the all-around, vault, floor and uneven bars after suffering with the “twisties” – which gymnasts describe as a mental block.

She scored 14.000 with a solid routine, which ended with a double backward somersault and double pike onto the mat.

Afterwards, she jumped up and down in celebration and hugged her rivals.

China’s Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing took gold and silver with scores of 14.633 and 14.233.

This is Biles’ seventh Olympic medal, making her the most decorated American gymnast in history alongside Shannon Miller.

Craig Heap, BBC gymnastics commentator, said: “Biles is back. Regardless of the outcome, that routine was much more than just a performance on the beam.

“That was phenomenal. What this young lady has done for the sport from when she joined to now, to go through the adversity to get up there and perform that routine was just phenomenal.”

Last week Biles walked out in the middle of the gymnastics team finals after failing to execute her vault routine.

She scored 13.766 – her lowest ever Olympic vault score – before withdrawing from the event.

“After the performance I did, I just didn’t want to go on,” she said.

“I don’t trust myself as much anymore. Maybe it’s getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world.

“We’re not just athletes. We’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back.

“I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and get hurt. ​I feel like a lot of athletes speaking up has really helped.

“It’s so big, it’s the Olympic Games. At the end of the day we don’t want to be carried out of there on a stretcher.”

During a press conference, the 24-year-old continued: “Whenever you get in a high-stress situation you kind of freak out.

“I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well being.”

She added: “We have to protect our body and our mind.

“It just sucks when you’re fighting with your own head. There’s more to life than just gymnastics. It is very unfortunate that it has to happen at this stage because I definitely wanted this Olympics to go a little bit better.

“But again, taking it one day at a time. We’re going to see how the rest goes.”

The US gymnastics team nabbed silver while the Russian Olympic Committee took home the gold.

Biles arrived at this year’s Olympic Games as the star of the entire US team, so the pressure was on from the start.

After a shaky performance on the vault, Biles bravely decided that enough was enough.

Biles pulled out of the individual all-around, team all-around, vault, and uneven bars.

She also did not compete in the individual finals for floor routine.

The balance beam was her last chance to compete at the Tokyo 2020 games.

We’re so proud of you Simone!

Image by Tokyo2020/Twitter/Alamy