Will Simone Biles quit the Olympics? Case of 'twisties' may prevent further participation
The 'twisties' can throw a gymnast off their sense of where they are mid-air and often results in dangerous landings
Simone Biles has opened up about a "twisties" condition that she says led her to pull out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic gymnastics competition, revealing to her fans that her “mind and body are simply not in sync.”
Biles’ decision to withdraw that left fans shocked and heartbroken stemmed from mental health concerns. "After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health," USA Gymnastics said in a statement. "We wholeheartedly support Simone's decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many."
The 24-year-old sensation, who has won a whopping four Olympic gold medals aside from silver and bronze, took to her Instagram Stories on Friday, July 30, to explain the situation. “I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on a hard/competitive surface,” Biles told her followers. “Nor do I have to explain why I put my health first. Physical health is mental health."
The American gymnast also shared two videos of herself attempting a dismount on the uneven bars. “For anyone saying I quit. I didn’t quit my mind & body are simply not in sync. As you can see here,” Biles wrote, before taking the videos down.
Biles is supposed to do one-and-a-half more twists than what she managed to do in training, she told her followers. “Almost there but not quite,” she wrote, adding, “Sometimes I can’t even fathom twisting. I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist. Strangest & weirdest thing as well as feeling.”
According to the New York Post, the "twisties" can throw a gymnast off their sense of where they are mid-air and often results in dangerous landings. Biles attempted to elucidate the situation to her fans, telling them she could “literally not tell up from down.”
“It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body. What’s even scarier is since I have no idea where I am in the air, I also have NO idea how I am going to land. Or what I am going to land on. Head/hands/feet back,” she wrote. “It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync,” she explained, adding, “10/10 do not recommend.”
The star athlete also noted that she'd been affected by the twisties previously. “Btw it’s never transferred to bars & beam for me," she wrote. "It strictly likes floor & vault, but this time it’s literally on every event. which sucks… really bad.”
She said she didn't quit over a bad performance. "I’ve had plenty of bad performances throughout my career and finished competition. I simply got so lost my safety was at risk as well as a team medal," she insisted.
The gymnast also explained the vault misfire that forced her to withdraw from the event. “I also have no idea how I landed on my feet on that vault bc if you look at the pictures & my eyes you can see how confused I am as to where I am in the air,” she wrote. “Thankfully I landed safe enough but I also don’t think some of you realize I was supposed to do a 2 ½ and I only completed 1 ½ twists before it looks like I got shot out of the air."
Biles also slammed her critics while explaining she had no problems with her routines before leaving for Tokyo. “It randomly started happening after prelims competition the VERY next morning,” she wrote. “By that time NO an alternative was not allowed to be placed in my position for you ‘know it alls.' We have 4 on a team for a reason. I chose to not continue team competition in jeopardizing losing a medal (of any color) for the girls/US," Biles added.
Nonetheless, she celebrated her teammate Suni Lee's surprise victory, after she captured the marquee title by edging out Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade. “CONGRATS PRINCESS absolutely killed it!!! OLYMPIC CHAMPION RIGHT HERE !!! So so so beyond proud of you!!!!” wrote Biles, who is yet to confirm whether she will compete in the individual events slated for next week," the New York Post reported.