Tokyo Olympics

Simone Biles hints at struggles in practice, no clear word on further participation

Reuters
Simone Biles hints at struggles in practice, no clear word on further participation

Simone Biles of the United States watches from the stands during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics gymnastics women's all-around at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan on July 29, 2021.

REUTERS/Mike Blake

(1st UPDATE) Citing mental health concerns, American gymnast Simone Biles also withdraws from the all-around of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

US gymnast Simone Biles, who pulled out of the team and women’s all-around events in Tokyo, on Friday, July 30, hinted on social media that she was struggling in practice but shed no light on whether she’ll take part in
further individual events.

Biles shocked the world on Tuesday when she did one vault at the start of the women’s team competition final and then pulled out, later saying she’d lost her way in the air. The US team subsequently won silver.

Citing mental health concerns, Biles also withdrew from the all-around, in which team mate Sunisa Lee won gold. Attention is now on whether or not she’ll take part in the individual events in beam, floor, uneven bars and vault she’s qualified for.

These begin on Sunday with vault and uneven bars.

In what appeared to be a series of answers to questions from Instagram followers, Biles discussed what happened on Tuesday and said the incidents of disorientation – which she called “the twisties” – had randomly begun the morning after preliminary qualifications.

“It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync,” she wrote, noting that she’d had similar periods before.

Asked if it was worse on a certain apparatus, she said “By the way, it’s never transferred to bars & beam before for me, it strictly likes floor and vault. Go figure, the scariest two.

“But this time it’s on literally every event. Which sucks…really bad.”

She gave no further details but said there was no telling how long it could take to clear up.

“Something you have to take literally day by day, turn by turn,” she wrote.

She also appeared to be defending herself against accusations that she’d given up.

“I didn’t have a bad performance & quit. I’ve had plenty of bad performances throughout my career and finished the competition,” she wrote.

“I simply got so lost my safety was at risk as well as a team medal. Therefore the girls stepped up and killed the rest of the competition and won silver.”

After the team competition, Biles said she needed to step back for her physical and mental health, citing recent stress.

“It just sucks when you are fighting with your own head,” she said. “You want to do it for yourself but you’re just too worried about what everybody else is going to say, think, the internet.” – Rappler.com