Gymnast Simone Biles took to Instagram Thursday night in Houston (Friday afternoon in Japan) to share video of a practice session as well as to answer questions about why she has not been able to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.
In a very transparent series of posts, she explained why competing with “twisties” isn’t safe, how it isn’t the first time it’s happened to her, and how long these episodes have lasted in the past.
She also posted videos which have now been removed of her practicing at a gym outside of the Olympic gymnastics arena. The surfaces at the gym are soft, but Biles shockingly lands on her back. Biles references the videos as proof that pulling out of the team competition earlier in the week was the best decision for her teammates and for her own safety.
Here is a transcription of what Biles shared with her Instagram followers:
for anyone saying I quit. I didn’t quit
my mind & body are simply not in sync
as you can see here
i don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface
nor do I have to explain why I put health first
physical health is mental health
*I’m supposed to do 1 1/2 more twists
almost there but not quite... still have 1/2 twist to go
no this was not happening before I left the usa
it randomly started happening after prelims competition the VERY next morning
by that time NO an alternate was not allowed to be place in my position for you “know it alls”
we have 4 on a team for a reason. I chose not to continue team competition in jeopardizing losing a medal (of any color) for the girls / US
also for my own safety and health
I didn’t have a bad performance & 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
therefore the girls stepped up and killed the rest of the competition & won silver (emoji) QUEENS!!!!
hence why we have 4 team members bc ALLLLL of us can compete in team meet. not just me.
I also have no idea how I landed on my feet on that vault bc if you look at the pictures & my eyes you can see how confused I am as to where I am in the air
thankfully I landed safe enough but I also don’t think some of you realize I was supposed to do a 2 1/2 and I only completed 1 1/2 twists before it looks like I got shot out of the air
BILES: Any more questions? about the twisties
QUESTION: Do you still have them
- BILES: yes. unfortunately so. those videos were taken this morning @ practice
QUESTION: ...have you ever experienced twisties before?
- BILES: i have experienced them before. they’re not fun to deal with
- BILES: it’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync.
- BILES: 10/10 do not recommend
- BILES: * could be triggered by stress I hear but I’m also not sure how true that is
QUESTION: Do you feel off sync for non twisting flips too?
- BILES: honestly kind of... but def better than if I try to twist. sometimes I can’t even fathom twisting. I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist
- BILES: strangest & weirdest thing as well as feeling
QUESTION: Is it worse on a certain apparatus?
- BILES: btw it’s never transferred to bars & beam before for me.
- BILES: it strictly likes floor & fault. go figure (emoji) the scariest 2
- BILES: but this time it’s literally on every event. which sucks... really bad.
QUESTION: About how long does it usually take for it to leave?
- BILES: unfortunately it varies with time
- BILES: typically for me it’s usually 2 or more weeks when I’ve had them before
- BILES: honestly no telling / time frame something you have to take literally day by day, turn by turn
COMMENT: Your “crashes” are even adorable! Sending God’s angels to untwist you!
- BILES: this ain’t it...
- BILES: it only looks “safe” because I’m on a soft surface. if I was on competition surface it wouldn’t look adorable
QUESTION: how you do you continue to safely practice with the twisties without risking injury?
- BILES: -going back to basics
- BILES: - soft surfaces / pits
- BILES: (which there is a place here in japan that has been so sweet to open their doors for me to train since they do have those resources) so shout to you (emojis) you know who you are!!!
- BILES: I’ll give a formal thank you once the olympics is over
QUESTION: why wasn’t an alternate allowed to take your place?
- BILES: once you start prelims or qualifications they aren’t allowed to replace an athlete. just the rules
- BILES: even if we were. I warmed up in the back gym “ok-ish”
- BILES: I was fighting demons but I did it. Petrified too.
- BILES: *you guys can fact check me on this*
- BILES: also our US alternates were already back home
QUESTION: What does it feel like while twisting? Can you just not tell where you are to land?
- BILES: literally can not tell up from down. it’s the craziest feeling ever. not having an inch of control over your body.
- BILES: 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. head/hands/feet/back....
QUESTION: will u be good for the gold over america tour
- BILES: YES no more twisting for me on tour hahaha simple fix
- BILES: but unfortunately in my olympic routines I do a ton of twists on each event
According to the event’s website, the GOLD OVER AMERICA TOUR is set to star Biles as well as other all-star gymnasts including Jordan Chiles, MyKayla Skinner, and Laurie Hernandez. The tour is taking place in 35 cities including Houston from September through November.