‘I didn’t quit’: Simone Biles responds to criticism

Japan 2020

Coach Laurent Landi embraces Simone Biles, after she exited the team final with apparent injury, at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo. The 24-year-old reigning Olympic gymnastics champion Biles huddled with a trainer after landing her vault. She then exited the competition floor with the team doctor. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

TOKYO (NEXSTAR) — Simone Biles posted a series of comments on Instagram early Friday noting she didn’t quit the Olympics but rather “my mind and body are simply not in sync.”

Sometime after qualifying at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, the four-time Olympic gold medalist lost her way. She kept telling her body to twist. It kept saying, “How about no.”

The “twisties,” as they’re known within the gymnastics community, were back. And Biles knew it, leading her to withdraw from the team final after one rotation and skip the all-around final.

In commenting on the “twisties,” Biles said she “literally can not tell up from down. It’s the craziest feeling ever.”

Biles hasn’t ruled out competing in the event finals — she’s qualified for all four — starting on Sunday. Yet even a minibreak from the competition floor hasn’t cured her. During a series of social media posts on Friday, the 24-year-old provided an inside look at the “twisties.”

“Sometimes I can’t even fathom twisting,” Biles posted. “I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist.”

She called it the “strangest and weirdest thing.”

She’s dealt with them before. The difference this time? They’re not just affecting her on vault and floor exercise, as they have in the past. Now, they’re following her to bars and beam, too.

“It’s honestly petrifying,” she wrote, “trying to do a skill but not having your mind and body in sync.”

The vault and uneven bars finals are on Sunday. Biles is the defending Olympic champion on vault, and she unveiled the harrowing Yurchenko Double Pike in May.

Biles has four maneuvers named after her already in the sport’s Code of Points. If she wants to make it five, she needs to do the Yurchenko Double Pike in Tokyo. Considering the vault’s difficulty and her current issues, it seems highly unlikely she’ll attempt it. She’s not really a medal threat on uneven bars — where Lee and Belgium’s Nina Derwael are poised for an epic showdown — so it might not be worth the risk.

Beam, where she earned bronze in Rio, and floor exercise are later in the week. Maybe she somehow regains her confidence in herself and her surroundings.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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