- Simone Biles has brought her Olympic future into doubt by saying she “cannot comprehend how to twist.”
- Biles said she’s experiencing the “twisties” in all gymnastic events and said it could take two weeks to clear.
- The four-time Olympic champion made the remarks in a Q&A session on Instagram.
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Simone Biles’ gave the clearest hint yet that her Tokyo Olympics is over, saying on Instagram she “cannot comprehend how to twist” right now.
The four-time Olympic champion withdrew from the team and all-around finals on Tuesday citing mental health concerns. She then withdrew from the individual all-around, which was eventually won by her teammate Sunisa Lee.
It is currently unknown whether Biles will compete in any individual events later in the games, but an Instagram Q&A Friday seemed to suggest that it is unlikely she will do so.
The 24-year-old expanded on her reasons for withdrawing from the all-round events in a fans Q&A on her Instagram and went into greater depth about suffering from the condition known in the gymnastics world as the “twisties.”
Asked by a fan if she was still struggling with the “twisties,” Biles replied: “Yes, unfortunately so.”
She then replied to another fan who asked if she was also struggling on non-twisting flips, saying: “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.”
Biles then went on to say that the feeling is impacting her in all parts of gymnastics, not just on the vault and floor, where the “twisties” is most common.
“It’s never transferred to [uneven] bars and beam before for me. It strictly likes floor and vault. Go figure, the scariest two. But this time it’s on every event, which sucks … really bad.”
Biles then seemed to say that while there is no concrete timeframe as to when she might feel better, she does not expect the mental block to go away in less than two weeks, which would mean she will likely be unable to compete any more in Tokyo.
The four individual events — the vault, uneven bars, floor, and balance beam — take place across Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
“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. Could be triggered by stress I hear but I’m also not sure how true that is.
“Unfortunately it varies with time. Typically for me it’s usually two or more weeks when I’ve had them before. Something you have to take it literally day by day, turn by turn,” Biles said.
Should Biles play no more part in Tokyo, it will bring to an end one of the most decorated careers in Olympic history. Biles has always said she will bow out of active competition after Tokyo, having already extended her career by a year thanks to the pandemic-triggered postponement of the games.
During her Q&A, the gymnast also hit back at those claiming she quit during the team all-around because of a bad vault.
“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.