Simone Biles Explains How the 'Twisties' Are Still Impacting Her at the Olympics

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Simone Biles is opening up about her "twisties" problem. After exiting both the team and individual all-around competitions at the Tokyo Olympics, the 24-year-old gymnast took to her Instagram Story on Thursday to do a Q&A, revealing when her twisties started, how they feel and if she's still struggling with them.

Biles noted that she was not experiencing the twisties, a mental block where gymnasts lose track of their position midair, before she left the U.S. for the Olympic Games. The problem instead began the morning after the preliminary competition.

At that point, an alternate was not allowed to replace her, per the rules of the competition. Even if they were, Biles explained that the "US alternates were already back home" before the team finals began.

With that in mind, Biles decided to compete while "fighting demons" and feeling "petrified." She took her turn on the vault rotation, but that's when things really started going wrong.

"I also have no idea how I landed on my feet on that vault [because] if you look at the pictures & my eyes you can see how confused I am as to where I am in the air," Biles explained. "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."

 As for what she felt in that moment, Biles wrote, "Literally cannot tell up from down. It's the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body. 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..."

Simone Biles
Cheng Min/Xinhua via Getty Images

After competing in the vault portion, Biles decided to bow out of the competition, for both the well-being of her team and herself.

"We have 4 on a team for a reason. I chose to not continue team competition in jeopardizing losing a medal (of any color) for the girls/US. Also for my own safety and health," she wrote. "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. QUEENS!!!!" Biles continued of her team's second-place finish. "Hence why we have 4 team members [because] ALLLLL of us can compete in team meet. Not just me."

Biles added, "For anyone saying I quit, I didn't quit. My mind & body are simply not in sync... I [don't] have to explain why I put my health first. Physical health is mental health."

After the team secured silver, Biles decided to skip the individual all-around competition, and had Jade Carey fill in for her. Carey ultimately came in 8th, while her and Biles' teammate, Suni Lee, won the gold medal.

The individual event competition is slated to take place next week, and Biles has yet to announce if she plans to compete. However, she did note that she "unfortunately" is still experiencing the twisties.

In an attempt to combat the ongoing mental block, Biles has been practicing at a facility in Tokyo, where she's "going back to basics" and attempting flips and twists on soft surfaces and into pits.

The course of action is one Biles has undertaken when she's experienced the twisties before, and it's helped her to typically defeat the block in "2 or more weeks." This time around, though, things are a little different, as the block is affecting her on all four events and in non-twisting moves.

"Sometimes I can't even fathom twisting. I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist. Strangest & weirdest thing as well as feeling," she wrote. "It's never transferred to bars & beam before for me. It strictly likes floor & vault. Go figure. The scariest 2. But this time it's literally on every event. Which sucks... really bad."

As for when she'll return, Biles wrote, "Honestly no telling / time frame. Something you have to take literally day by day, turn by turn."

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