Sport Simone Biles: 'I didn't quit ... my mind & body are simply not in sync'
Simone Biles' Olympics timeline: Medals, records and more to know about U.S. star gymnast
Simone Biles has taken home a lot of hardware during her impressive gymnastics career.However, it wasn't always easy for her. During the 2013 season, she was unsure of how far she could get in the sport.
TOKYO — Simone Biles is continuing to train in an effort to improve her concentration so she can properly, and safely, complete her high-flying routines in these Olympics.
She qualified for the Olympic finals in all four individual events — vault and uneven bars on Sunday, floor on Monday and beam on Tuesday. Biles can still compete in any or all of them. Or she can withdraw.
If nothing else it suggests she hasn’t given up on these Olympics … if she can get her focus at a level that allows her to compete.
At the same time, she is clapping back at critics — most of whom have little to no knowledge of elite gymnastics or gymnastics scoring — that she “quit” on her USA Gymnastics teammates when she withdrew from the team competition after one awkward, low-scoring and nearly disastrous vault attempt.
Watch Simone Biles tell USA Gymnastics teammates she was withdrawing from Olympics team final
Microphones picked up what Biles said as she was telling teammates she was making her exit from the team competition.People criticized the decision; some said she abandoned her teammates and let them down. But video of Biles walking off during the competition shows not only the encouragement she gave them, but also the mutual support they gave her as they continued to fight for a medal in Tokyo.
“For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit,”. “My mind and body are simply not in sync … I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on [a] hard competition surface.
“I chose not to continue team competition [so not to jeopardize] losing a medal (of any color) for the girls/US,” she wrote. “Also for my own safety and health.”
With that she showed a video, which she said was taken Friday morning, of her attempting a dismount from the uneven bars where she both comes up one and a half twists short and lands directly on her back on heavy pads. A landing such as that in a competition venue would be perilous.
There is no way to verify what Biles was attempting in the video, but she later posted another where she landed less awkwardly and was “almost there but not quite … still have ½ [twists] to go.”
Aaron Rodgers empathizes with Simone Biles, says he worked on 'mental state' in offseason
Aaron Rodgers, back in camp with the Green Bay Packers after an offseason of discontent, empathized with Olympian Simone Biles deciding to focus on her mental health during his first media availability of training camp on Wednesday. "I think it's important that we work on our mental state and as you've seen with Simone Biles, I think there needs to be more conversation around that," Rodgers said.Rodgers was asked what it was like to miss organized team practice activities (OTAs) for the first time in his career and said it was "great." He then spoke of Biles and the need to de-clutter his mind over the offseason.
Biles said she is suffering from what gymnastics call “the twisties” or a lack of “air awareness” which is required for them to flip and spin through the air yet still land not just safely but perfectly for judges looking for even the slightest of errors.
“It is really, really hard to get rid of this problem,” Russian gymnast Angelina Melnikova, who was part of theand took bronze in the all-around here, said. “It is very confusing.”
It’s not uncommon in other sports — great basketball players air balling free throws, golfers missing putts, kickers shanking field goals, baseball players incapable of simple throws to first. Failure in those pursuits do not risk serious injury though.
Biles said in the past it’s taken “usually two or more weeks,” to get over the twisties. She doesn’t have that kind of time here. She wrote, “you have to take [it] literally day by day, turn by turn” and go “back to the basics.”
Simone Biles grateful for 'love and support' after withdrawing from all-around
It's been an unexpected and emotional few days for Simone Biles. The undisputed GOAT of gymnastics decided to withdraw from both the Olympic team final and the all-around competition to focus on her mental health, which prompted an outpouring of love and support among fellow athletes, fans, politicians, and celebrities. Biles used social media to make her first comment following her all-around withdrawal on Wednesday. The enormous amount of loveBiles used social media to make her first comment following her all-around withdrawal on Wednesday. She's grateful for the outpouring of solidarity and understanding, and revealed how all of that support has affected her mental outlook.
“... [You] literally can not tell up from down,” she explained of the twisties. “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.”
Biles said that while she’s battled this in the past, and her qualifying scores on Sunday were not as high as she wished, she expected to compete in all four rotations at team.
“It randomly starts happening ... the very next morning [after qualifying],” she said.
Earlier in the week her USA teammates — Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum — all confirmed something was wrong in Monday’s training.
“She was giving us a little heart attack,” Chiles said.
It carried over to the first rotation, where Biles attempted a Yurchenko with two and a half twists but only managed to complete one and half twists. She was able to land upright but took a huge step and a stumble.
Simone Biles says she didn't 'quit' on USA teammates, claims loss of coordination
The American gymnast said she's experiencing a case of the "twisties," a type of mental block that causes gymnasts to become disoriented while in the air. That state can lead to injuries.Biles withdrew from the Monday event after a subpar performance in Sunday's first round. The other three team members (Biles noted that, by rule, she could not be replaced in the lineup) scored well enough to earn a silver medal. At first, it was thought Biles exited with a foot injury, but she said after the final that her "mental [was] not there.
The vault was so shockingly bad that her teammates covered their mouths. The Yurchenko with one and a half twists is a pedestrian vault at this level. Of the 24 gymnasts who competed that night, only one attempted an easier vault and only three scored lower than Biles' 13.766.
That score was 1.2 below Biles' qualifying mark, .540 lower than any other American and 0.700 below any Russian, who was the main competition for gold.
After just one rotation, mainly due to Biles' severe underperformance, the Russians were staked to a 1.067 lead in a sport where tenths of a point often determine victory and defeat. It was virtually unsurpassable, especially since the vault should have been a huge advantage for the Americans.
Biles, despite being, was now one of the worst competitors in the event and was a major liability to her team. Had she continued as she believed she would have, the Americans would have struggled to medal.
Whether she “quit” or simply took herself out of the game like a starting pitcher who was getting rocked or a slumping jump shooter who passes the ball to someone more likely to score is the issue.
Those that know gymnastics argue it’s the latter. Those that don’t have been more vocal on the “quit”. Biles said you can’t compare general sports with gymnastics.
Is Simone Biles out of the Olympics? Latest updates on USA gymnastics star's status after withdrawal
Simone Biles' status moving forward is in doubt after exiting Team USA's silver medal finish in the team competition at the 2021 Olympics.Biles withdrew after participating in just one event during the women's gymnastics team final on Tuesday. Her early exit has left gymnastics fans wondering if the greatest gymnast of all time will be returning to the floor during the Tokyo Games.
“I didn’t have a bad performance and quit,” Biles wrote. “I’ve had plenty of bad performances throughout my career and finished the competition. I simply got lost. My safety was at risk as well as a team medal. Therefore the girls stepped up and killed the rest of the competition and won silver. Queens!!!
“Hence why we have four team members because ALLLLL of us can compete in [the] team meet, not just me,” she continued.
She additionally explained some basic, and easily looked up Olympic rules, that she didn’t deny an alternate from competing in the team event because once qualifying occurred on Sunday, substitutions were no longer allowed.
Her teammates and coaches have been vocal in their defense of not just her, but the decision to step back from the team competition. After Biles’ vault, the Americans were extremely unlikely to do better than the silver they eventually won.
So there was no harm — medal wise — by letting the others take over.
As for what’s next, there is no telling. Biles said she is training at a local gym in Tokyo while seeking professional help for the stress and anxiety that she believes may have triggered the twisties.
She clearly wants to return. And wants people who tune into gymnastics once every four years — if that — to understand the context behind her decision.
Whether she gets back into competition, or changes a single mind in what has become a classic, modern American, hot-button topic, remains to be seen.
More from Yahoo Sports:
Aaron Rodgers 'Very Proud' of Simone Biles .
The Packers QB credited Biles for speaking her truth in her mental health journey. When U.S. gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the Tokyo Games citing her mental health, it set off a global conversation about mental health in sports and the pressure athletes endure to perform even when they're not at their best.After opening up about her personal journey on the world's biggest stage, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers credited Biles on Friday for having the courage to share her truth and the mental battles she's faced.