TOKYO — Just days after she withdrew from the team and individual all-around finals at the Tokyo Olympics, gymnast Simone Biles continues to struggle during training, she revealed in social media posts Friday.
“For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit,” she captioned a clip that showed her falling back-first onto a mat while practicing an uneven bars dismount Friday. “My mind & body are simply not in sync, as you can see here.”
She added: “I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health.”
She refers to the phenomenon – a mental block that causes her to lose awareness of her position midair – as “the twisties,” USA Today reported.
“No, this was not happening before I left the USA,” Biles continued in her post. “It randomly started happening after prelims competition the VERY next morning. By that time, NO, an alternate was not allowed to be placed in my position for you ‘know it alls.’”
She went on to explain that she withdrew from the two events because she didn’t want to risk “losing a medal (of any color) for the girls / US” – or put her own health and safety in jeopardy.
In addition, Biles answered fans’ questions about “the twisties,” saying that while she’s had them before on vault and floor, she’s never experienced them on all four apparatuses like she is now.
She wrote that they typically last “two or more weeks” and may be “triggered by stress.”
Biles – who won four gold medals, including the all-around title, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro – pulled out of Tuesday’s team competition shortly after the U.S. women completed their first rotation on vault. According to The Associated Press, the gymnast bailed on the vault she had planned to perform, an Amanar, and hopped on the landing.
Biles was seen with her trainer before leaving the floor with the team’s doctor following the routine, according to the AP. She returned to the sidelines to cheer on teammates Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum, who went on to win the silver medal.
On Wednesday, USA Gymnastics released a statement saying Biles also would not be competing in Thursday’s all-around competition, opening up a spot for teammate Jade Carey. Lee ended up capturing the gold medal, while Carey finished in eighth place.
Biles qualified for all four of the individual event finals, which begin Sunday. She has not said whether she will participate.
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