Simone Biles Opens Up On What Happened During Her ‘Petrifying’ Vault At Tokyo Olympics

Simone Biles Opens Up On What Happened During Her ‘Petrifying’ Vault At Tokyo Olympics

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American Gymnast Simone Biles has opened up on her reasons for withdrawing from the women’s gymnastics all-around final at the Tokyo Olympics. Biles explained in detail what happened and why it isn’t safe for her to compete. This comes after critics have rumored or perhaps accused her of quitting. 

Simone Biles, 24, pulled out of the USA team finals when a ‘petrifying’ vault went wrong.

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Critics emerged and accused her of quitting. 

Biles claimed she’d been having a little bit of the twisties, a term used in explaining a mental block that can appear out of nowhere and make a gymnast lose their sense of direction when in the air or performing an extra twist. Experiencing a block amid flipping and twisting in the air naturally leaves a gymnast blind to their environment. 

However, Biles has claimed she has been “having a little bit of the twisties,” a term the describes a mental block.

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During a Q&A session on Instagram, Biles said that mental block ‘randomly started happening’ the morning after her prelim event. Highlighting why she didn’t let an alternate gymnast take her place, she shared that it wasn’t within the rules to replace an athlete for prelims and that qualifications had already been completed, leaving her with no choice.

The mental block ‘randomly started happening’ the morning after her prelim event.

“I warmed up in the back gym ‘ok-ish.’ I was fighting demons, but I did it. Petrified too. I didn’t have a bad performance and quit. I’ve had plenty of bad performances throughout my career and finished the completion. I got so lost my safety was at risk, as well as a team medal. I also have no idea how I landed on my feet on the vault because if you look at the pictures and my eyes, you can see how confused I am as to where I am in the air.” Biles explained.

“Twisties” can affect the skills any gymnast has been perfecting for years.

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She continued: “Thankfully, I landed safe enough, but I also didn’t think some of you realize I was supposed to do a 2 ½, and I only completed 1 ½ twists before it looks like I got shot out of the air. I have experienced [the twisties] before. They’re not fun to deal with. It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but no having your mind and body in sync.”

Despite the shortcoming, Biles is still practicing ahead of the four Olympic finals she’s set to compete in.

“Literally cannot tell up from down. It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having 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. Heads/hands/feet/back.” Biles has since gone on to share clips of herself in practice after the withdrawal. 

“I was fighting demons, but I did it. Petrified too.”

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She’s still experiencing the mental block and has yet to regain the skills fully, but she plans to perform in the coming events. Biles had been announced to be withdrawing from the all-around final, a routine she had qualified in first place for and had over time been the favorite to win as the reigning Olympic champion. 

“I have no idea how I landed on my feet on the vault because if you look at the pictures and my eyes, you can see how confused.”

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Biles hasn’t let the situation stop her from supporting her fellow gymnasts. She appeared in the crowd to cheer them on and celebrated the eventual gold-medal win of teammate Sunisa Lee. “CONGRATS, PRINCESS!” Absolutely killed it!!! OLYMPIC CHAMPION RIGHT HERE!!! So so so beyond proud of you!!!” Biles had written on Instagram.

The situation hasn’t prevented Biles from supporting her fellow gymnasts, and here’s proof.

Nevertheless, former gymnasts have told Deanna Hong, a producer of Golden: The Journey of USA’s Elite Gymnasts, how bad the vault could’ve ended, which could have led to severe injury. “One former US elite gymnast I talked to said that if it were someone other than Simone Biles who had made the same error, they would have certainly blown a knee, at minimum.” Hong tweeted.

All the best, Biles. You remain an inspiration to many!