Simone Biles opens up about ‘petrifying’ mental block
It is unclear if Simone Biles will compete again at the Olympics this year, but the 24-year-old gymnast has made an effort to help fans understand the mental struggles she has been having in Tolyo.
After she withdrew from the women’s gymnastics team all-around on Tuesday, Biles revealed that she was “shaking” and could not focus leading up to the event. She has since answered questions about the issues from fans on Instagram. On Friday, Biles shared two videos that showed her trying to do her uneven bars dismount, and it was clear something was not right. She deleted the videos but wrote about the mental block she is experiencing. Biles called the problem the “twisties,” which sound similar to the yips in golfing.
“It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync,” Biles wrote, via TMZ. “Literally can not tell up from down. It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body.”
Biles said the most frightening part is that she is disoriented while in the air and has “no idea how I am going to land, or what I am going to land on.” This is not the first time she has dealt with the issue, which she says usually resolves on its own. She said overcoming it can take two weeks or more but that she can only take things “literally day by day, turn by turn.”
Biles also hit back at anyone who has said she quit on her team.
“For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit,” she wrote. “My mind & body are simply not in sync. … Physical health is mental health.”
Biles has qualified for several individual events, but she is unsure of when she might return. She withdrew from the individual all-around on Thursday, which opened the door for 18-year-old Suni Lee to capture her first Olympic gold medal. Lee’s father had an emotional message for Biles after the event.