You can’t keep the great ones down. Simone Biles has announced that she will compete in the balance beam finals at the Tokyo Olympics after bowing out of other competitions over the last week due to a case of the “twisties.” The phenomena is one that affects the connection between the mind and body making it hard for gymnasts and other athletes to be safe will performing their stunts. Biles, in interviews the night she decided to withdraw from competition, said that she had lost the ability to tell where she was in the air in relation to the ground. “Literally can not tell up from down,” she wrote in an Instagram story. 

“It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body.” The four-time Olympic gold medalist, wrote that she “seriously cannot comprehend how to twist,” and noted that the problem appeared the morning after the team qualified at the Tokyo Games. While she had experienced the problem before, she said, she never has faced it on every single apparatus.

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

Needless to say, all eyes will be on Simone as she takes to the beam on Tuesday. She was considered the face of this year’s Olympics and the world was waiting with baited breath for her to complete the breathtaking and dangerous Yurchenko double pike vault, which she successfully did in practices. The stunt is so risky that she could break her neck or ankles if she doesn’t rotate enough to land squarely on her feet. If she had landed that vault at the games, it would have been named after her. Ever the record-breaker, Biles also has a skill on the balance beam named after her in which she dismounts by way of a double twisting double back somersault. It’s unclear whether we’ll see that from her tomorrow as she has said twisting may be off the table for her for the rest of the games. 

No doubt, there is more history to be made by Biles both on and off the mat but it will be nice to see her safely return to the competition this week. 

tokyo olympicssimone bileswellnessmental health