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'It wasn't a copout! I was getting so lost in the air': Simone Biles explains her reason for pulling out of five Olympic events and says bronze on beam means more than all 4 golds {F}

'Simone has endured more trauma than most will go through in a lifetime': Biles hints that sexual abuse by Larry Nassar is behind her mental health issues and withdrawal from the individual all-around

Biles came into the 2020 Olympics with a five-medal haul from the 2016 Games - four golds and a bronze - and she claimed her first Tokyo medal in the team final, although she withdrew after just one event, following a major error on the vault

  • The 24-year-old won bronze in the balance beam final in Tokyo on Tuesday
  • Biles' appearance in the event marked her first return to competition since she made the controversial decision to pull out of the team final, as well as the all-around, uneven bars, vault, and floor exercise 
  • In a post-event press conference, Biles hit out at critics who have accused her of 'quitting' and 'abandoning' her team, insisting that people 'have no idea' what she and her fellow gymnasts 'are going through'
  • Following her medal win, the gymnast refused to confirm whether she plans to retire ahead of the 2024 Games in Paris, saying that she needs to 'work on herself first' 
  • 'I just need to process this whole thing first,' Biles - who will be 27 years old when the next Games are held - added. 'I need to process things' 
  • Last week, Biles, from Spring, Texas, revealed that she was suffering from the 'twisties', a mental block that causes gymnasts to feel as though they are 'lost in the air' and can result in serious injury  
  • After her bronze win on the beam, Biles now ties 1996 Olympian Shannon Miller for the most Olympic medals won by a US female gymnast - although she went into Tokyo with the potential to win six
Biles gets bronze: The gymnast won her seventh Olympic medal in the balance beam final on Tuesday after overcoming the 'petrifying' mental issues that saw her pull out of five events

iles' first return to competition in Tokyo and it is likely to be the last time that gymnastics fans will see her taking part in an elite international event, with the 24-year-old indicating that she will retire after these Olympics

Speaking about her reasons for pulling out of five Olympic finals, Biles - appearing on the Today show alongside her teammates - said that she couldn't perform any of her routines 'safely' becaues of her struggle with the 'twisties'
Ready to go: The 24-year-old, from Spring, Texas, pulled off a near-flawless routine to clinch her seventh Olympic medal - which sees her tie 1996 Olympian Shannon Miller for the most won by a US female gymnast
Changes: Biles switched up several elements in her routine in order to ensure she didn't struggle with the 'twisties', a mental block that causes gymnasts to feel 'lost in the air' and can result in serious injuries and which has blighted her Olympic dream

Biles, from Spring, Texas, also addressed the furious controversy over her decision to pull out of the team, all-around, floor exercise, vault, and uneven bars finals, hitting back at critics who have accused her of 'quitting' and 'abandoning' her team in Tokyo. 

Simone Biles' adoptive parents rocked by tragedy at home while she battles mental health struggles in Tokyo 

Gymnast Simone Biles has revealed that her family had to endure the upsetting loss of her aunt just days after she arrived in Tokyo to compete in the 2020 Olympics - hinting that the tragedy worsened the mental health issues that prompted her to pull out of five finals. 

The 24-year-old shared the news during a press conference shortly after she won bronze on beam on Tuesday, however she revealed few other details about the circumstances of her relative's death. 

However it is understood that the aunt is her father Ronald's sister. 

Biles revealed her aunt - believed to be the sister of her father Ronald (right) - passed away just days before her bronze medal win on beam

Biles revealed her aunt - believed to be the sister of her father Ronald (right) - passed away just days before her bronze medal win on beam 

Ron, 71, and his wife Nellie, 66, are actually Biles' grandparents, however they adopted the athlete and her sister Adria after they were taken away from their birth mother, Shanon, who suffered from drug and alcohol addiction and spent time in jail, leading to her children being placed in foster care when Biles was just three years old. 

She was formally adopted by Nellie and Ron three years later and refers to them both as her 'parents'. Biles is not understood to have a close relationship with her biological mother Shanon. 

Biles and her family were born in Columbus, Ohio, however she relocated to Texas to live with Nellie and Ron when they became her parents - having already made the move themselves. 

Ron and Nellie opened their own gymnastics training center in 2016 shortly after Biles rocketed to fame as the sport's leading light at the Rio Olympics - and she now trains there, while helping to lure in some of the best new faces in the sport, including her Tokyo teammate Jordan Chiles. 

You guys have no idea what we are going through,' she said during a post-event press conference. 'We are entertainers but we are also human.'  

Appearing alongside her US teammates on the Today show shortly after the beam final came to an end, Biles once again fired back at those who have slammed her decision to withdraw from multiple Olympic events, revealing that her mental health issues were so severe, her teammates were left 'terrified' for her safety ahead of the team final last week.   

'[The biggest misconception about my mental health issues was] that I was at no risk and mental health isn't a serious issue, that it was basically a copout,' she told Hoda Kotb. 

'But the girls saw me in training, my coaches saw me in training. I physically couldn't do [my routines] safely and it's because I was getting so lost in the air. 

'Before team finals, the girls were terrified for me. And they've never really been scared whenever I do something, but they were really nervous.' 

Biles added that her newly-won bronze medal 'means more to her' than 'all [four] of her golds' because it serves as proof that she was able to overcome the mental health struggles that have blighted her quest for Olympic victory in Tokyo. 

'It means more than all of the golds because I have pushed through so much in the last five years and the last week while I've even been here. It was very emotional and I'm just proud of myself,' she said. 

Biles refused to confirm whether she is planning to retire after the Tokyo Games, as many have suggested, insisting during her post-event press conference that the Paris 2024 Olympics are 'definitely not in her mind' because she 'needs to work on herself first'. 

'I just need to process this whole thing first,' Biles - who will be 27 years old when the next Games are held - added. 'I need to process things.' 

She reiterated that point during her Today show appearance, saying: 'I definitely am going to take some time and let this Olympics sink in because I don't [feel] like I did that after 2016. So I'm going to let this sink in... We'll just see.' 

The gymnast, who will return home to the US within the next 48 hours per the Tokyo Olympics' COVID-19 safety regulations, is due to depart on a lucrative national gymnastics tour in September. The event, which will visit 35 cities, is sponsored by sportswear company Athleta, a brand for which she serves as a spokesmodel. 

Tickets for the Gold Over America Tour (GOAT) events, which will also feature Biles' fellow Olympians Mykayla Skinner and Jordan Chiles, cost up to $200 each, although the most expensive VIP packages are priced at a staggering $349 per person.

The gymnast has already confirmed that the tour will go ahead despite her mental health struggles in Tokyo, insisting that the events do not require her to perform skills that could trigger her 'twisties'.

Landi, Biles' coach, has also made clear that the athlete will continue to undergo therapy - something that she started while dealing with the trauma of the abuse she endured at the hands of pedophile doctor Larry Nassar. 

According to Landi, the gymnast has been 'openly talking about therapy' with the coach sharing: 'I think honestly we all should do it. No shame on it. And I think I might need to. 

'It's been one hell of a week. Some very high, some very low.' 

Biles departed her troubled Tokyo Olympics with one final flip by landing a bronze medal in the balance beam final - after returning to competition following a battle with mental health issues that saw her withdraw from five event finals. 

Up in the air: During her routine, Biles made just a few balance checks and wobbles, securing an overall score of 14.0 - several tenths of a point higher than her qualifying finish

Up in the air: During her routine, Biles made just a few balance checks and wobbles, securing an overall score of 14.0 - several tenths of a point higher than her qualifying finish  

Biles is pictured in the air as she competes in the balance beam final in Tokyo on Tuesday

Biles is pictured in the air as she competes in the balance beam final in Tokyo on Tuesday

Biles came into the 2020 Olympics with a five-medal haul from the 2016 Games - four golds and a bronze - and she claimed her first Tokyo medal in the team final, although she withdrew after just one event, following a major error on the vault

Biles came into the 2020 Olympics with a five-medal haul from the 2016 Games - four golds and a bronze - and she claimed her first Tokyo medal in the team final, although she withdrew after just one event, following a major error on the vault

In order to combat the twisties, Biles replaced her signature double-double dismount - which requires two flips and two twists - with a double pike, landing the element with a small step back to end her routine

The gymnast proved on Tuesday that she was determined not to leave Japan without showing off her supreme athleticism one last time after dropping out of the team and four individual finals in order to 'focus on her mental health'. 

Team USA - which has been slammed by Biles over its handling of the Larry Nassar scandal - gushed about her win, tweeting: 'The GOAT got it done'

Team USA - which has been slammed by Biles over its handling of the Larry Nassar scandal - gushed about her win, tweeting: 'The GOAT got it done'

Biles, who is now a seven-time Olympic medalist, was all smiles after she finished her routine, which earned her a score of 14.0, landing a double pike dismount to clinch third place at the Ariake Gymnastics Center. 

China's athletes secured both of the top spots, with Guan Chenchen, 16, winning the gold, while her teammate Tang Xijing, 18, clinched the silver. 

The Team USA star's bronze win means that she now ties 1996 Olympian Shannon Miller for the most Olympic medals won by a US female gymnast. 

Biles' appearance in the beam final marked her first return to competition since she made the shock decision to pull out of the all-around, uneven bars, vault, and floor exercise events to 'focus on her mental health' - having withdrawn from the team final after making a major mistake on her first event. 

At the Rio 2016 Olympics, Biles had to settle for a bronze medal on the balance beam, having made a major error during her routine, which had been expected to win her the gold. 

Her decision to take part in the same final in Tokyo gave her the chance to get a second shot at the gold, but ultimately, she came away with the same result as she did five years ago. 

But the gymnast insists that she 'didn't care about the outcome' of the event, explaining that her main foal was simply to 'compete one more time' in Tokyo. 

'I was really nervous,' she shared on Today. 'I didn't really care about the outcome. I was just happy that I made the routine and I got to compete one more time.' 

During an appearance on the Today show, Biles said that her bronze medal win on beam means more to her than all four of her gold medals 'because I have pushed through so much in the last five years and the last week while I've even been here'
Concern: She hit back at her critics, insisting that she was at serious risk of injury because of her mental health struggles, which left her feeling 'so lost in the air'

Concern: She hit back at her critics, insisting that she was at serious risk of injury because of her mental health struggles, which left her feeling 'so lost in the air' 

Biles was seen celebrating her medal win with a happy dance in a video posted to Instagram by her teammate Mykayla Skinner, who praised the gymnast as a 'star'

Biles was seen celebrating her medal win with a happy dance in a video posted to Instagram by her teammate Mykayla Skinner, who praised the gymnast as a 'star' 

The gymnast, seen with her teammates and Today host Hoda Kotb, refused to confirm whether she is planning to retire after Tokyo, or whether she will aim to compete in Paris 2024, saying that she needs to 'process things' and 'work on herself'
Biles, who will return home to the US within the next 48 hours per the Tokyo Olympics' COVID-19 safety regulations, is due to depart on a lucrative 35-city gymnastics tour in September

Biles, who will return home to the US within the next 48 hours per the Tokyo Olympics' COVID-19 safety regulations, is due to depart on a lucrative 35-city gymnastics tour in September

In total, Biles came into Tokyo with a five-medal haul from Rio 2016 – four golds and a bronze – and although she won a silver in last week’s team final, she withdrew after just one event, the vault, leaving her three teammates to finish the competition a man-down. 

Biles had the potential to win six medals in Tokyo, however in the days following the team final, she withdrew from event after event, before making the announcement on Monday that she would compete for one last time in Tokyo in the balance beam competition.  

The Texan was the third athlete to step up on the four-inch-wide apparatus, completing a 90-second routine that featured a combination of complex tumbling moves and several turning elements, including her signature 'wolf turn' which involves spinning around on one foot while crouched down to the beam. 

In order to avoid all risk of the twisties during the beam routine, she also added a new dismount to replace her signature double-double, a tricky maneuver requiring two twists and two flips, and which is so difficult that she is the only female gymnast who has performed it in international competition. 

Instead, Biles opted for a much simpler double pike, which only requires flips, no twists, and which she has been performing since she was 12 years old. 

Biles ended her Olympics with a solid overall score, earning a 6.1 for difficulty and a 7.9 for execution. 

Although she is normally capable of racking up more points, the gymnast altered her routine in order to combat the 'twisties', a mental block that causes gymnasts to feel as though they are 'lost in the air', and which prompted Biles' decision to pull herself out of contention for a medal in four other individual finals, including the all-around competition, which was won by her teammate Sunisa Lee, 18. 

Biles completed her double pike without major difficulty, taking a small step back, but otherwise pulling it off without a hitch

Biles completed her double pike without major difficulty, taking a small step back, but otherwise pulling it off without a hitch

Biles had to be 'cleared' for competition by Team USA doctors in order to ensure that she was safe to take part in the event

Biles had to be 'cleared' for competition by Team USA doctors in order to ensure that she was safe to take part in the event

In the minutes after her bronze medal win, Biles revealed that she had only been 'cleared' for competition by Team USA's psychologists hours before the final was due to commence, following her struggle with mental health issues

In the minutes after her bronze medal win, Biles revealed that she had only been 'cleared' for competition by Team USA's psychologists hours before the final was due to commence, following her struggle with mental health issues  

The gymnast replaced all of the twisting elements in her routine to ensure that she did not risk serious injury

The gymnast replaced all of the twisting elements in her routine to ensure that she did not risk serious injury 

Biles looked relieved to have finished her routine and was seen putting her hand to her chest before going to hug her coach

Biles looked relieved to have finished her routine and was seen putting her hand to her chest before going to hug her coach. She clapped and cheered as she made her way off the mat to go and celebrate with her coach 

Biles blew kisses for the cameras and greeted her US teammates, who cheered her on from the stands as she finished her beam routine

Biles blew kisses for the cameras and greeted her US teammates, who cheered her on from the stands as she finished her beam routine

USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee - which have both been repeatedly slammed by Nassar abuse victim Biles - spoke out in support of the gymnast, insisting that she was responsible for deciding whether or not to compete in Tokyo, although it was noted that she would have to undergo regular 'assessments' in order to determine whether she was fit for competition.  

But if Team USA officials were concerned that her self-admitted mental instability would hamper her ability to perform, they need not have worried.  

Biles, who is dating Houston Texans footballer Jonathan Owens, appeared confident and calm from the start - with commentators remarking that she looked incredibly sure of herself during the warm-up - a fact that she then proved once she mounted the beam for her routine, which is likely to be the final time gymnastics fans see her compete in an elite international competition. 

She leapt with joy after bringing her routine to an end, and was cheered on by US teammates who unfurled the Stars and Stripes flag and screamed loudly as she landed her dismount. 

Such was Biles' draw, the audience swelled ten times over with fellow athletes and officials from competing nations all demanding and securing tickets close to the balance beam.  

The 24-year-old gave her coach Cecile Landi a huge hug as soon as she left the floor, beaming with happiness as she then shared an emotional embrace with teammate Lee, who clinched the all-around title in Biles' absence last week. 

Lee, who has become one of gymnastics rising stars during the Tokyo Games, struggled with her routine, and almost toppled off the beam after wobbling at the end of a tumbling series. She ended on a score of 13.866 points, finishing in fifth place overall.

Following Biles' medal win, USA Gymnastics celebrated her return to 'GOAT' status on social media, retweeting a post from Team USA, which read: ‘Leading by example. Simone Biles closed the show with a bronze at the Balance Beam final. The GOAT got it done.’ 

In another tweet the organization wrote: 'All smiles for Biles! What a showcase of perseverance and strength, closing this Olympics campaign with a bronze medal!'  

China's athletes secured both of the top spots, with Guan Chenchen (center), 16, winning the gold, while her teammate Tang Xijing (right), 18, clinched the silver

China's athletes secured both of the top spots, with Guan Chenchen (center), 16, winning the gold, while her teammate Tang Xijing (right), 18, clinched the silver

After completing her routine, Biles rushed over to her teammate and newly-crowned all-around champion Sunisa Lee and the pair embraced

After completing her routine, Biles rushed over to her teammate and newly-crowned all-around champion Sunisa Lee and the pair embraced

Lee, 18, has stepped up to the plate to lead the US women's gymnastics team in Biles' absence, winning a gold in the all-around following her teammate's withdrawal, as well as a bronze medal on the uneven bars

Lee, 18, has stepped up to the plate to lead the US women's gymnastics team in Biles' absence, winning a gold in the all-around following her teammate's withdrawal, as well as a bronze medal on the uneven bars 

The all-around champion suffered a disappointing upset in the beam final, when she wobbled on a tumbling skill and nearly came off the apparatus

The all-around champion suffered a disappointing upset in the beam final, when she wobbled on a tumbling skill and nearly came off the apparatus 

Lee struggled on the beam, wobbling on a few of her elements, before almost tumbling off the four-inch-wide apparatus

Lee struggled on the beam, wobbling on a few of her elements, before almost tumbling off the four-inch-wide apparatus

Lee had qualified for the balance beam final in third place, but she was unable to hold onto the medal-winning position in the final - having already won team silver, all-around gold, and a bronze on the uneven bars

Lee had qualified for the balance beam final in third place, but she was unable to hold onto the medal-winning position in the final - having already won team silver, all-around gold, and a bronze on the uneven bars 

Biles was pictured embracing Lee (pictured) before congratulating the two Chinese gymnasts who won gold and silver
Biles was pictured embracing Lee before congratulating the two Chinese gymnasts who won gold and silver (pictured)

Biles was pictured embracing Lee (left) before congratulating the two Chinese gymnasts who won gold and silver (right)

After the gymnast landed her routine - during which she made only a handful of balance corrections and wobbles - 2008 Olympian-turned-commentator Bridget Sloan remarked that Biles has 'made the impossible possible' by overcoming her mental health struggles to return to competition. 

The Texas-based sporting star, who won a bronze medal on the balance beam at the Rio 2016 Olympics, walked out onto the floor in a red USA tracksuit alongside teammate and Olympic champion Lee. 

Tuesday's final was her last chance for a gold medal after she pulled out of four final competitions - a move that sparked furious debate online, with some insisting that Biles should not have been allowed to step foot on the competition floor, while other praised her for spotlighting the importance of mental health. 

Biles' decision about whether or not to continue her elite career - and compete for a spot on the team for the 2024 Paris Olympics - will likely be influenced by several different criteria, not least her well-publicized struggle over competing for USAG, an organization that she has accused of 'failing' her and the hundreds of other gymnasts who were abused by Nassar. 

The gymnast has also been open about the difficulty of continuing to compete at an older age; Biles, along with Skinner, is the oldest gymnast on Team USA at age 24, and she has previously admitted that the rigorous training required for elite level competition is taking a serious toll on her body. 

Earlier today, Biles was pictured in a red, white and blue leotard next to Lee and her coach and she appeared to be in good spirits during the warm-up session.  

Biles was seen warming up and practicing her routine on the apparatus at the last training session before the final.  

USA Gymnastics announced on Monday that Biles would be joining her teammate Lee in the balance beam final. 

'We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow,' it said in a statement. 'Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!' 

The news that Biles was going to compete in the balance beam final indicated that the athlete had managed to work through the mental health struggles which prompted her to pull out of the finals for the vault, floor exercise, and uneven bars - all of which she was expected to medal in. 

Instead, Biles has taken on the role of cheerleader and spectator throughout each of the finals, including the floor exercise event on Monday, during which she was seen clapping and yelling while teammate Jade Carey, 21, competed in the Ariake Gymnastics Center.  

Biles was pictured in the Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Monday next to MyKayla Skinner (center) and Grace McCallum (right) to cheer teammate Jade Carey to a gold medal on floor

Biles was pictured in the Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Monday next to MyKayla Skinner (center) and Grace McCallum (right) to cheer teammate Jade Carey to a gold medal on floor

The 24-year-old (pictured with her teammates from the men's and women's team) has taken on the role of enthusiastic supporter and cheerleader throughout the other event finals

The 24-year-old (pictured with her teammates from the men's and women's team) has taken on the role of enthusiastic supporter and cheerleader throughout the other event finals

Tuesday's attempt at gold will be Biles' last appearance at the Tokyo Olympics - during which gymnast has endured a troubling struggle with poor mental health, leading her to drop out of four competitions, including the team and all-around finals. 

It remains to be seen whether Biles will manage to surge ahead to medal glory in the balance beam final, which she qualified for in a disappointing seventh place - while her teammate Lee finished in third place in the preliminary competition behind Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing. 

Biles, a three-time World balance beam champion, has been putting in plenty of training time ahead of Tuesday's final, working on several new skills that will allow her to complete a routine without worrying about her struggle with the 'twisties' - a mental phenomenon that causes gymnasts to feel like they are 'lost in the air' and can result in devastating injury.   

'It's honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync,' Biles wrote in an Instagram story last week, noting that she'd had these kinds of periods before and it had usually taken around two weeks to recover.

'Something you literally have to take day by day, turn by turn.'

At the Rio 2016 Olympics, Biles (pictured today) had to settle for a bronze medal on the balance beam, having made a major error during her routine, which had been expected to win her the gold

At the Rio 2016 Olympics, Biles (pictured today) had to settle for a bronze medal on the balance beam, having made a major error during her routine, which had been expected to win her the gold

Tuesday's attempt at gold will be Biles' last appearance at the Olympics - during which gymnast has endured a troubling struggle with poor mental health, leading her to drop out of four competitions, including the team and all-around finals

Tuesday's attempt at gold will be Biles' last appearance at the Olympics - during which gymnast has endured a troubling struggle with poor mental health, leading her to drop out of four competitions, including the team and all-around finals

Biles concentrates as she practices her routine on Tuesday during a training session before the balance beam final

Biles concentrates as she practices her routine on Tuesday during a training session before the balance beam final

It remains to be seen whether Biles will manage to surge ahead to medal glory in the balance beam final, which she qualified for in a disappointing seventh place - while her teammate Lee finished in third place in the preliminary competition behind Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing

It remains to be seen whether Biles will manage to surge ahead to medal glory in the balance beam final, which she qualified for in a disappointing seventh place - while her teammate Lee finished in third place in the preliminary competition behind Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing

Other gymnasts concurred, both in how terrifying the condition can be - getting it might not just cost you a medal but also cost you your life - and how there's no clear prescription for recovery.

'Like when you are getting lost in the air and you don't quite know where you are. It's hard, man,' said Dylan Schmidt, who took bronze in trampoline at Tokyo.

'I've had it before and to bounce back it usually takes a few days to build that confidence back. The sport is hard.'

Biles shocked the world last week when she did one vault at the start of the women's team final and then pulled out, later saying she had lost her way in the air. 

Most agreed that it was a measure of how skilled a gymnast Biles is that she was able to land on her feet at all after her vault in the team competition went badly wrong and escape without injury.

Laurie Hernandez, a gold medal gymnastics Olympian from Rio 2016, said beam is probably the safest competition for somebody struggling with the 'twisties'.

'For starters, it is upright. When you are on bars, you are swinging upside down consistently,' Hernandez told the 'Today Show.'

Beam is also easier because skills there involve fewer twists, and gymnastics watchers said they thought Biles would likely use an easier dismount than usual as a precaution.

'So I think beam is probably the safest route in terms of doing skills that don't have too many twists. I'm curious to see what she'll do for her dismount, but I have a feeling she's going to do very well,' Hernandez said.

Biles has stressed that being aged 24 and the oldest member of the US women's team has added to her anxieties and is one of the reasons 'the demons' have affected her in Tokyo.

Simone, one of the greatest all time Olympic gymnasts, will be 27 when the next games are staged in Paris in 2024 and has indicated that she plans to retire from elite competition long before then. 

She said she had lost confidence and worried about competing and was suffering the 'twisties' which hamper the ability to maintain any awareness in the air, and can therefore result in serious injury. 

Ready to go: In 2016 (pictured), Biles had to settle for bronze in the balance beam final - but she will now get another chance to claim gold in the event

Ready to go: In 2016 (pictured), Biles had to settle for bronze in the balance beam final - but she will now get another chance to claim gold in the event 

Biles made a very rare error during her routine in the Rio 2016 final and, while she managed to stay on the apparatus, the mistake cost her a chance at winning

Biles made a very rare error during her routine in the Rio 2016 final and, while she managed to stay on the apparatus, the mistake cost her a chance at winning 

Biles has received glowing praise for her 'bravery' and 'courage' to put her mental health before competing after she pulled out of multiple finals, with a number of Olympic champions past and present sending her messages of support over the past weeks. 

International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach admitted Biles' bravery to confront her mental health problems in front of the world is 'admirable'.

He said: 'I can only say, you know, we are with her. I must personally say I had the opportunity to at least briefly talk with her after the team competition.

'I'm really admiring how she's handling the situation. She admits to having this problem. This is already courageous. Who one year ago would have admitted to say (they) have mental health problems?

'And at the same time then cheering on (her) teammates. And then being there, and supporting when her successor is in the all-around final? This is, you know, great human quality and this is Olympic spirit at its best.'

Britain's newly-crowned double Olympic champion on the Pommel Horse Max Whitlock said in a message to Biles: 'You've pushed boundaries time and time again. Rest up and take time.'

US swimming legend Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 28 medals, talked about the need for mental health resources for Olympic athletes after Biles withdrew from a number of events, having revealed back in 2018 he suffered with depression himself and contemplated suicide after the 2012 London Games. 

How the terrifying 'twisties' upended Simone Biles' quest for Olympic glory: Gymnasts explain 'dreaded' and VERY dangerous mental 'phenomenon' that left one athlete PARALYZED

When Simone Biles announced her decision to drop out of the team final and women's all-around competitions at the Olympics this week, the four-time Olympic gold medalist cited a scary mental issue: 'They saw it a little bit in practice. Having a little bit of the twisties,' she said.

To many non-gymnasts, it seemed that the problem was simply that the pressure got to be too much for her, or that she didn't want to risk jeopardizing her 'GOAT' status with anything less than gold.

But to those familiar with the sport, the references to 'twisties' indicated something much more serious — and possibly even life-threatening.

Several gymnasts — including former Olympians — have since taken to Twitter to explain just what the dreaded 'twisties' are, and why Simone's choice to back out while experiencing them may be saving her from catastrophic injury.

Catherine Burns, a former gymnast and diver from California, went viral with her Twitter thread 'attempting to explain the mental phenomenon Simone Biles is experiencing: the dreaded twisties.'

Oh no! To those familiar with the sport, the references to 'twisties' indicated something much more serious — and possibly even life-threatening.
Oh no! To those familiar with the sport, the references to 'twisties' indicated something much more serious — and possibly even life-threatening.

Oh no! To those familiar with the sport, the references to 'twisties' indicated something much more serious — and possibly even life-threatening.

Quick explainer: Catherine Burns went viral with her Twitter thread 'attempting to explain the mental phenomenon Simone Biles is experiencing: the dreaded twisties'

Quick explainer: Catherine Burns went viral with her Twitter thread 'attempting to explain the mental phenomenon Simone Biles is experiencing: the dreaded twisties'

'When you're flipping or twisting (or both!) it is very disorienting to the human brain,' she explained. 'When training new flips and twists, you need external cues to learn how it feels to complete the trick correctly. (In diving, a coach yells 'OUT' and you kick your body straight and pray).

'Once you've practiced a trick enough, you develop the neural pathways that create kinesthesia which leads to muscle memory. Your brain remembers how your body feels doing the trick and you gain air awareness,' she said.

Kinesthesia is the awareness of the position and movement of parts of the body by means of sensory organs in the muscles and joints.

Catherine then offered up an example of what the twisties might look like for a non-gymnast.

'Think about something that took you a while to learn and required a lot of concentration at the time to get it right, but now is second nature. Driving a car is a good example (especially stick!),' she said.

'Suddenly, in the middle of driving on the freeway, right as you need to complete a tricky merge, you have totally lost your muscle memory of how to drive a car. You have to focus on making you foot press the pedal at the right angle, turn the steering wheel just so, shift gears.

'It's terrifying,' she said. 'You're moving way too fast, you're totally lost, you're trying to THINK but you know you don't usually have to think to do these maneuvers, you just feel them and do them.

When training to flip and twist, gymnasts use external cues. Once they've done it enough, they develop 'neural pathways that create kinesthesia which leads to muscle memory

When training to flip and twist, gymnasts use external cues. Once they've done it enough, they develop 'neural pathways that create kinesthesia which leads to muscle memory

Terrifying: But when one develops the twisties, they suddenly lose that muscle memory

Terrifying: But when one develops the twisties, they suddenly lose that muscle memory

Kinesthesia, interrupted: For a gymnast in the air, that can mean falling fast and hard — and if they land the wrong way, it can lead to broken bones, spinal cord injuries, or even death

Kinesthesia, interrupted: For a gymnast in the air, that can mean falling fast and hard — and if they land the wrong way, it can lead to broken bones, spinal cord injuries, or even death

'The twisties are like this, and often happen under pressure. You're working so hard to get it right that you stop trusting your muscle memory. You're getting lost in the air, second-guessing your instincts, overthinking every movement.

'It's not only scary and unnerving, it's incredibly dangerous even if you're doing basic gymnastics. The level of skills Simone throws combined with the height and power she gets can lead to catastrophic injury if you're not confident and connected to your kinesthesia.'

'When Simone says she's taking it day by day, this is why. She's not soft. She didn't choke,' Catherine said

'When Simone says she's taking it day by day, this is why. She's not soft. She didn't choke,' Catherine said

Unfortunately, it's not so easy to shake off.

'This isn't as easy to fix as just sleeping it off and hoping for a better day tomorrow. It can look like retraining entire routines and tricks. I never mastered my front 1.5 with a full twist because I'd get the twisties and it would mess with my other twisting dives,' she said.

'So. When Simone says she's taking it day by day, this is why. She's not soft. She didn't choke. She isn't giving up. It's a phenomenon every gymnast and diver has experienced and she happens to be experiencing it at the Olympics. Can you imagine the frustration? The heartbreak?'

Catherine's thread has gone viral, and other gymnasts have chimed in with their own thoughts, support, and stories.

'It's hard to explain the twisties to someone who doesn't do gymnastics, but it's a mental block and it's real,' wrote Missy Marlowe, an Olympic gymnast who competed at the 1988 Summer Games.

She's had 'em, too! Missy Marlowe, an Olympic gymnast who competed at the 1988 Summer Games, shared her own experience with twisties

She's had 'em, too! Missy Marlowe, an Olympic gymnast who competed at the 1988 Summer Games, shared her own experience with twisties

'It's like a non-serious stroke, you're brain and body disconnect,' she said. 'And you can feel how to do something in your brain but you can't make your body respond'

'It's like a non-serious stroke, you're brain and body disconnect,' she said. 'And you can feel how to do something in your brain but you can't make your body respond'

'I had it happen twice, when I was 12 and 20. You cannot fix it quickly — can take months, if at all. It's like a non-serious stroke, you're brain and body disconnect,' she went on.

'And you can feel how to do something in your brain but you can't make your body respond. You can twist the wrong direction, or start out twisting and get lost right on takeoff and you end up bailing out of the skill so you don't crash.'

Gold medalist Dominique Moceanu, who applauded Biles for 'demonstrating that we have a say in our own health,' also pointed out that 'the twisties only get worse with stress.'

Ariana Guerra, a University of Alabama gymnast, chimed in to shared her experience with the twisties.

'At one point in my career when I would try to do a double layout, I would twist instead of doing the double layout. It's scary and it can be dangerous especially landing on hard landings,' she said.

A woman named Becca DiPaolo said that getting the twisties was one of the main reasons she stopped doing gymnastics after 15 years.

She gets it! Gold medalist Dominique Moceanu applauded Biles for 'demonstrating that we have a say in our own health'

She gets it! Gold medalist Dominique Moceanu applauded Biles for 'demonstrating that we have a say in our own health'

Yikes! She also pointed out that ' the twisties only get worse with stress'

Yikes! She also pointed out that ' the twisties only get worse with stress'

'It is the scariest most uncontrollable sensation. Being mid-air with no awareness is the most vulnerable and terrifying feeling. I am praying for Simone so unbelievably hard,' she said.

Retired gymnast Danni Scribani even described her own terrible injury during a bout of the twisties.

'The last time I had 'twisties,' it landed me with a L3-L5 fracture, a back brace, and a wheelchair for a few weeks. It sucks and it can be dangerous,' she said.

It was even worse for former gymnast Jacoby Miles, who was left permanently paralyzed after a case of the twisties.

In 2012, when she was just 15 years old, the was practicing the sport when she landed on her neck. She was a level nine gymnast at the time — just two below the Olympic skill level — when she suffered the devastating fall, leaving her in a wheelchair.

In light of her own experience, Jacoby said her 'heart goes out' to Simone and she is 'so so glad she decided not to continue until she's mentally recovered.'

'I experienced those mental blocks throughout my career as a gymnast, and to be quite blunt, it only took one bad time of getting lost (or getting what they call the 'twisties') in the air in a big flip to break my neck and leave me paralyzed... most likely for life,' she wrote on Instagram.

Meanwhile, other non-gymnasts grasping the concept of twisties for the first time have taken to comparing the phenomenon to 'the yips,' which athletes in many others sports — including golf and basketball — experience.

But the difference between the twisties and the yips, they point out, is that the worst outcome of the yips is a bad performance, while the worst outcome of the twisties is death or catastrophic injury.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Simone Biles praises her 'brave' Olympic teammates for 'stepping up when I couldn't' after she pulled out to 'focus on her mental health' and Russia took gold Tokyo Olympics: Simone Biles WITHDRAWS from the individual all-around competition

  • The 24-year-old has drawn a line between the abuse she endured at the hands of the pedophile doctor and the mental health issues that prompted her to withdraw from the team and individual all-around finals 
  • Following the announcement that she would not defend her Olympic all-around title in Thursday's final, Biles retweeted a statement of support from former gymnast Andrea Orris 
  • Orris defended Biles' decision to withdraw from the team final after flubbing her first event, before insisting that the gymnastics GOAT has 'endured more trauma by age 24 than most will go through in a lifetime'
  • The statement added: 'We are talking about the same girl who was molested by her team doctor throughout her entire childhood and teenage years'
  • Although Biles did not issue her own statement about Nassar or her decision to pull out of the all-around, a US official told MailOnline that Orris' message 'sums up everything Simone is feeling and wants to say' 
  • Biles has been very outspoken in her criticism of USA Gymnastics' handling of the Nassar scandal and the organization's failure to protect gymnasts from the pedophile doctor 
  • Shortly after it was revealed that she would not compete in the all-around final, Biles was pictured with her teammates cheering on the men's gymnastics team in the Ariake arena in Tokyo

It continued: 'That girl has endured more trauma by the age of 24 than most people will ever go through in a lifetime.' 

Although Biles, who was seen for the first time since the announcement when she stepped out to cheer on Team USA's male gymnasts in Tokyo, did not issue her own statement about Nassar or her decision to pull out of the all-around, a US official told DailyMail.com that Orris' message 'sums up everything Simone is feeling and wants to say'. 

The source continued: 'The fact that Simone has retweeted it, shows that she agrees with every word that’s been said on her behalf.' 

Biles, who won four gold medals at the Rio 2016 Games, including the individual all-around title, announced early on Wednesday morning that she has chosen not to defend her title, after consulting with USA Gymnastics officials following her sudden withdrawal from the team competition on Tuesday.

The gymnast, who has been incredibly outspoken in her criticism of USAG's handling of the Nassar scandal, and her struggle to deal with the resulting trauma of his abuse, did not share her own statement - instead allowing the news to be shared by the organization that she has so frequently blasted for 'failing' to protect its gymnasts from the pedophile doctor. 

Simone Biles (pictured today in Tokyo) has hinted that the abuse she suffered at the hands of pedophile doctor Larry Nassar is behind the mental health issues that pushed her to withdraw from the team and individual all-around finals

Simone Biles (pictured today in Tokyo) has hinted that the abuse she suffered at the hands of pedophile doctor Larry Nassar is behind the mental health issues that pushed her to withdraw from the team and individual all-around finals 

The 24-year-old revealed in 2018 that she was one of more than 150 gymnasts abused by the former national team doctor during his 30-year career and she later admitted that the trauma of the abuse left her suffering with suicidal thoughts
The 24-year-old revealed in 2018 that she was one of more than 150 gymnasts abused by the former national team doctor (pictured) during his 30-year career and she later admitted that the trauma of the abuse left her suffering with suicidal thoughts

The 24-year-old revealed in 2018 that she was one of more than 150 gymnasts abused by the former national team doctor (right) during his 30-year career and she later admitted that the trauma of the abuse left her suffering with suicidal thoughts

Biles (seen with teammate Mykayla Skinner) retweeted a message of support from a former gymnast defending her decision to pull out of two finals, which read, in part: 'We are talking about the same girl who was molested by her team doctor'

Biles (seen with teammate Mykayla Skinner) retweeted a message of support from a former gymnast defending her decision to pull out of two finals, which read, in part: 'We are talking about the same girl who was molested by her team doctor'

Despite the controversy surrounding her decision, Biles was seen smiling and waving to the crowds as she joined teammate Mykayla Skinner, 24, in cheering on the men's team in the Ariake arena
Despite the controversy surrounding her decision, Biles was seen smiling and waving to the crowds as she joined teammate Mykayla Skinner, 24, in cheering on the men's team in the Ariake arena

Despite the controversy surrounding her decision, Biles was seen smiling and waving to the crowds as she joined teammate Mykayla Skinner, 24, in cheering on the men's team in the Ariake arena 

'After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health,' the statement read. 

'Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week's individual event finals. We wholeheartedly support Simone's decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.' 

Biles is one of more than 150 gymnasts who were abused by Nassar, the former national team doctor, during his 30-year career, and in 2019, she revealed that the trauma of the assaults had left her struggling with suicidal thoughts. 

Biles retweeted this message from Los Angeles fitness trainer Andrea Orris on Wednesday

At the time, she admitted that she was 'sleeping all the time' because it was 'the closest thing to death', while revealing that she was undergoing therapy in order to deal with the abuse. 

Now, for the first time, Biles, who is believed to be the only Nassar victim still competing on an international level, has indicated that the abuse - and the fallout from the scandal - led to her decision to pull out of the team final and the all-around final.

Biles' fellow Team USA gymnast Jade Carey, 21, who finished ninth in qualifying, will take her place in the all-around. 

Carey initially did not qualify because she was the third-ranking American gymnast behind Biles and Sunisa Lee; International Gymnastics Federation rules state that only two athletes per country can take part in the individual event finals.  

Following Tuesday's withdrawal, where the US ultimately finished second to the Russian Olympic Committee, Biles - widely referred to as the the 'greatest of all time' (GOAT) in her sport - said she wanted to concentrate on 'what's right for me and focus on my mental health'.

Speaking about her sensational exit from competition, which cleared the way for Team USA's Russian rivals to claim gold in a dramatic upset, Biles said that she made the decision both to prioritize her own 'wellbeing' - and out of fear that she would cost her teammates their shot at winning a medal. 

'To focus on my wellbeing,' she told reporters of her reasons for pulling out of the competition following a shock flub on the vault, echoing the statement issued by tennis pro Naomi Osaka, 23, when she pulled out of the French Open earlier this year because of her own mental health struggles.

'It is very unfortunate that it has to happen at this stage because I definitely wanted this Olympics to go a little bit better but again, we'll take it one day at a time and we're going to see how the rest goes.' 

She later added: 'I just don't trust myself as much as I used to. I don't know if it's age, but I'm a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics.

'I feel like I'm also not having as much fun, and I know that this Olympic Games I wanted to do it for myself, and I was still doing it for other people, so that just hurts my heart badly, that doing what I love has been taken away.  

Pictured: The full statement from USA Gymnastics posted on social media announcing Biles' withdrawal from the all-around competition

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Tokyo Olympics: Simone Biles is pulled OUT of gymnastics team finals after shock error on

    • Simone, who was expected to lead the US to gold in the team final, pulled out of the competition after the first event, following a shock error on vault 
    • Her exit from the team final all but cleared the way for the athletes from the Russian Olympic Committee to claim gold - leaving Team USA with just three first-time Olympians to compete in the remaining three events 
    • Speaking about her shock decision to pull out of the final, Simone, 24, cited her mental health struggles, insisting that she needed to 'focus on her wellbeing' while noting that there is 'more to life' than sport 
    • Her comments closely echoed those made by Naomi Osaka when she quit the French Open earlier this year, citing her own mental health struggles, following uproar over her refusal to do any press at the tournament
    • Naomi crashed out of the Olympics in the third round just hours before Simone quit the team final 
    • Simone also insisted that she withdrew from the team final so as not to cost her teammates their shot at winning a medal, noting that she was not in the right 'headspace' to perform to the best of her ability 
    • It remains unclear whether Simone will go on to compete in any of the individual event finals, having qualified for all five, and she admitted that she needs to take things 'day by day' before confirming her participation
    • The next event that she is scheduled to take part in is the women's all-around final on Thursday, for which she qualified in the top spot, where she would be defending her Olympic title 
  • The gymnast also posted a simple white heart on Twitter

    Simone - who had been expected to lead the US to gold - was withdrawn from the lineup after flubbing her vault in the opening minutes of the team final competition in Tokyo on Tuesday, and it now remains unclear whether she will be fit to take part in the individual all-around this Thursday, with officials stating that she will have to undergo 'daily assessments' to determine her competition status. 

    The gymnast admitted that she is 'dealing with some things internally', but seemingly vowed to return to competition in time for the all-around final, having gone into the Olympics as the favorite to win the gold. 

    'I'm OK,' Simone said. 'Just dealing with some things internally which will get fixed out in the next couple of days.' 

    When asked by the BBC whether she is planning to take part in the upcoming all-around final in two days, she replied simply: 'Yes.' 

    However, when speaking to the Today show, Simone confessed that her determination to take part in the event - where she would be defending her championship title - is not enough to cement her place in the lineup, saying: 'We're going to take it day by day, and we're just going to see.'  

    She went on: 'Physically, I feel good, I'm in shape. Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn't an easy feat, so we're just trying to take it one day at a time and we'll see.' 

    Opening up about her determination to prioritize her mental health Simone praised the other athletes, like Naomi, who have spoken out about their own struggles, insisting that it has become a more important issue than ever, suggesting that sporting stars who are grappling with these kinds of issues are more likely to injure themselves during competition. 

    Despite the devastating upset, Simone and her teammates, Jordan (left), Grace (center right), and Sunisa (right), were all smiles as they received their silver medals

    Despite the devastating upset, Simone and her teammates, Jordan (left), Grace (center right), and Sunisa (right), were all smiles as they received their silver medals 

    Team USA's rivals from Russia led the competition in the wake of Simone's exit - having qualified to the team final in first place ahead of the US - and the gymnastics GOAT was forced to watch on as they surged to victory over her teammates

    Team USA's rivals from Russia led the competition in the wake of Simone's exit - having qualified to the team final in first place ahead of the US - and the gymnastics GOAT was forced to watch on as they surged to victory over her teammates 

    Simone and her US teammates went into the Olympics as the favorites to win the country's third consecutive team gold - but they suffered a shock defeat to Russia's athletes, who were led by veteran Angelina Melnikova

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Comment by caribmama on August 3, 2021 at 2:13pm

I have to give it to all these ladies for enduring the sexual abuse and still be able to bring home the gold, silver or bronze. Thank you to Miss Burns for breaking it down on what they have to go through to get their jumps and moves right. I know it's not easy. And to see how they compose their face's when doing these stunts (no ugly faces there). I'm not surprised how everyone waited till Simone had a bad moment and they rip into her. To say she's a disgrace to America says it all. Did they do that to any other Olympian in the past? Simone has done some amazing things to show the world you can make your body do it if you try hard enough. I wouldn't be able to spin around in a circle without falling down. How she is able to flip and spin so many time and land perfectly is amazing and they is not just for her, that is also for the other girls. I know I hated balance beam when I was in school. Rock on ladies.

Comment by jhons lanne on July 31, 2021 at 10:24am
Comment by Al3x on July 28, 2021 at 12:40pm
First the other chick got banned for weed and this chick withdraw from the olympics for mental health,who’s really next now? Which white person is working voodoo jk

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