Simone Biles took to Instagram following the conclusion of the individual all-around finals to talk more about the twisties, and her decision to withdraw from both the individual all-around and team finals.
According to the BBC, the twisties is actually a “mental block that affects physical performance.” It’s extremely dangerous for gymnasts to throw the level of stunts that Simone Biles throws when dealing with the twisties. The twisties cause gymnasts to “lose their sense of space and dimension” while they are in the air.
As a result, this causes gymnasts to “lose control of their body” which could result in them accidentally performing extra twists or flips which could result in serious injury if they are unable to safely land on the floor. “The strange occurrence can happen to any gymnast even if they’ve done the same routine over and over again without issue,” the BBC reports.
Now, Simone Biles is openly talking about how the twisties are affecting her personally.
Q: Do you still have [the twisties]?
A: As of July 30: “Yes, unfortunately so, those.”
Q: Do you feel off sync for non-twisting flips too?
A: “Honestly kind of, but definitely better than if I try to twist. Sometimes I can’t even fathom twisting. I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist. Strangest and weirdest thing as well as feeling.”
Q: Is it worse on a certain apparatus?
A: “By the way, [the twisties] never transferred to bars and beam before for me, it strictly likes floor & vault. Go figure, the scariest two. But this time it’s literally one every event. Which sucks, really bad.”
Q: Have you ever experienced twisties before?
A: “I have experienced them before. They’re not fun to deal with. It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind and body in sync. 10 out of 10 do not recommend. [It] could be triggered by stress I hear, but I’m also not sure how true that is.”
Q: About how long does it usually take for [twisties] to leave?
A: “Unfortunately, it varies with time. Typically for me, it’s usually 2 or more weeks when I’ve had them before. Honestly, no telling/time frame. [It’s] something you have to take literally day by day, turn by turn.”
Q: Will you be good for the Gold Over America tour?
A: “Yes, no more twisting for me on tour hahaha. Simple fix. But unfortunately in my Olympic routines, I do a ton of twists on each event.”
Q: Your “crashes” are even adorable! Sending God’s angels to untwist you!
A: “’This ain’t it.’ It only looks ‘safe’ because I’m on soft surfaces. If I was on a competition surface, it wouldn’t look adorable.”
Q: How do you continue to safely practice with the twisties without risking injury?
A: “Going back to basics, soft surfaces, and pits, which there is a place here in Japan that has been so sweet to open their doors for me to train since they have those resources. So shout out to you. You know who you are! I’ll give a formal thank you once the Olympics is over.”
Q: Why wasn’t an alternate allowed to take your place?
A: “Once you start prelims or qualifications, they aren’t allowed to replace an athlete. Just the rules. Even if we were, I warmed up in the back gym ‘ok-ish.’ I was fighting demons but I did it petrified too. You guys can fact-check me on this, and also our US alternates were already back home.”
Q: What does it feel like while twisting? Can you just not tell where you are to land?
A: “[I] literally cannot tell up from down. It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not have 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’m going to land, or what I’m going to land on, head, hands, feet, back.”
Simone then made some overall points towards the end of her open Q&A on Instagram. “I didn’t have a bad performance and quit. I’ve had plenty of bad performances throughout my career and finished the competition. I simply got so lost my safety was at risk as well as a team medal. Therefore, the girls stepped up and killed the rest of the competition and won silver! Hence, why we have 4 team members because ALL of us can compete in the team meet, not just me.”
Biles continued saying, “I also have no idea how I landed on my feet on that vault because if you look at the pictures and my eyes, you can see just how confused I am as to where I am in the air. Thankfully, I landed safe enough but I also don’t think some of you realize I was supposed to do a 2 1/2 and I only completed 1 1/2 twists before it looks like I get shot out of the air.”
Biles also confirmed that she was not experiencing the “twisties” before she left the USA and that it “randomly started happening after prelims competition the VERY next morning.” She reiterated saying, “by that time NO alternate was allowed to be placed in my position for you, ‘know it alls.’ We have four on a team for a reason. I chose to not continue team competition and jeopardizing losing a medal (of any color) for the girls and US, also for my own safety and health.”
She then addressed those who are saying she quit. “For anyone saying I quit. I didn’t quit. My mind and body are simply not in sync. I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on a hard competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health.”
Being as though she is still dealing with her brain and body not correctly communicating with each other, it’s unclear if she will compete in any of the individual apparatus finals.
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