Simone Biles spoke out for the first time since she shocked the world by dropping out of the team final and.women’s individual all-around at the Tokyo Games to focus on her mental health.
On her Instagram Story Thursday night, the Team USA gymnast, who has six Olympic medals under her belt (four golds, one silver, one bronze), explained to fans why she decided to gracefully exit.
Biles started off by posting two videos of her training on bars, trying complete her twisting and flipping dismount. She explained that what she is supposed to do in competition and what she actually accomplished in training Thursday morning does not match up.
“For anyone saying I quit. I didn’t quit my mind & body are simply not in sync,” she wrote. “As you can see here.”
“I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface,” she wrote about the twist. “Nor do I have to explain why I put my health first. Physical health is mental health.”
She explained that in competition, she is supposed to do one-and-a-half more twists that what she was able to do in training. “Almost there but not quite,” she wrote, later adding, “Sometimes I can’t even fathom twisting. I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist. Strangest & weirdest thing as well as feeling.”
She is also used to landing on a soft mat, which breaks the impact from a hard fall.
On her Instagram Story, Biles said she did not have a problem with her Olympic routine before she left the U.S. 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,” she continued. “I chose to not continue team competition in jeopardizing losing a medal (of any color) for the girls/US.”
Biles opened her Story to questions from fans, answering honestly when asked what it’s like to experience “twisties.” The Olympian said she has had this problem before, and has heard that it may be triggered by stress, but she’s not sure that’s what’s happening to her. “It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but mot having your mind & body in sync,” she wrote. “10/10 do not recommend.”
Since Biles’ withdrawal from the team final and individual all-around, many have rushed to her defense, agreeing that prioritizing mental and physical health is more important that competing for a medal.
The gymnastic thanked her supporters in an Instagram post earlier this week. “The outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before,” she wrote alongside a photo of herself at the Games.
Biles also celebrated her teammate Sunisa Lee, who took home the gold for the women’s artistic individual all-around. “CONGRATS PRINCESS 🤍✨✨ absolutely killed it!!! OLYMPIC CHAMPION RIGHT HERE !!! So so so beyond proud of you!!!!” Biles captioned a photo of the two holding up their Olympic medals together.
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