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“Take Your Medicine”: Simone Biles Felt Things Going Out of Control Before Tokyo Olympics Twisties Nightmare

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Last year Simone Biles labelled her decision to withdraw from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics as her “biggest win.” Biles had to walk out of the Olympics after experiencing twisties. Now as he gears up for the Paris Olympics, the decorated gymnast has opened up on how she felt when she opted to drop out of competition under immense stress.

The “Twisties” experience that Biles went through was not a new phenomenon, as many gymnasts, including Gage Dyer, Leanne Wong, and others, have faced similar challenges. Ahead of her 2024 season debut, Simone Biles has revealed how she felt things slipping out of control which led to her withdrawal.

On the “Call Her Daddy” podcast, Simone Biles shed light on her mental health leading up to the Tokyo Olympics. With the Olympics occurring during a global pandemic and lockdown, she emphasized that “nothing about the Olympic Games was normal.” Even before the Olympics, she felt something was off, describing it as if “the wires weren’t connected. Like the red was off, the yellow off.”

Biles said, “I have very good, like senses and I knew something was going to go wrong. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was or what it was going to happen. But I just had this feeling deep down, this is not going to go the way I want it.” The podcast host asked Biles where was she mentally going into the Tokyo Olympics.

The 27-year-old athlete said, “I don’t know…But there was something that I could feel that was going to be out of my control. And I didn’t know when it was going to happen or what was going to happen. Biles then talked about how she felt before the Games and how she decided to help herself.

Biles narrated, “And to me, I was like, it’s fine, take your medicine. And some of the days we’re asking my doctor, I’m going to take two of my pills. I never take two of my pills. But I was like, something’s coming up. It feels like, I don’t know what it is, but like, I cannot control this. It is out of my control. So we’re going to control what we can control. Let’s take your medicine, maybe try 20 milligrams, maybe try this. And it was just like it was. It was the weirdest experience.” However, despite her efforts, the fear of the “twisties” still overpowered her.

Biles pulled out of both the team final and the women’s individual all-around, eventually withdrawing from five of her six finals at the Olympics. In the interview, Biles also described how after the “twisties,” revelation she thought she would be criticized by her home country and even thought, “I was gonna be banned from America.”

Last year in an interview with Teen Vogue, Biles defended her decision to withdraw from the Olympics and said, “Walking away from the Olympic Games was a win in itself. I know a lot of people thought I failed because they expected me to go out with five or six medals, but walking out of it was my biggest win.”

Biles’ decision sparked a widespread debate about the mental well-being of players and the USA’s gymnastics team backed her decision as well.

As we reflect on this moment, let’s explore how Simone Biles has managed her mental health on her road to healing and her journey toward the Paris Olympics.

How did she heal from these mental battles?

In July 2023, before her comeback to gymnastics after nearly two years off the mat, Simone Biles addressed how she was managing the mental health aspect of her sport in an Instagram Q&A with fans. She shared “Lot’s of therapy, I go once a week for almost 2 hrs,” she shared. “I’ve had so much trauma, so being able to work on some of the traumas & work on healing is a blessing.”

She also highlighted the significant role played by Laurent Landi in her journey, explaining that even when she would only come to the gym to use the trampoline, “He would make me twist and go back to the basics.” Overcoming her fear of twisting was not an easy journey, but with time, Simone Biles relearned her basics and successfully returned to competition.

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