USA gymnast, Simone Biles, pulled out of multiple events at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games following mental health concerns. USA Gymnastics has now confirmed that the gymnast will be returning to compete 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 – Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement.
Simone Biles, the four-time Olympic gold medallist removed herself from the vault and uneven bar finals. Furthermore, she removed herself from the overall team final on 27 July. Biles, 24, had qualified for all five of the individual event finals but declared herself out of four of them. She deemed this necessary as she was struggling with issues surrounding air awareness- known as “the twisties” in gymnastics.
“They’re not fun to deal with. It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill… not having your mind and body in sync,” said Biles. Due to this, her psychological state put her at significant physical risk. Biles air awareness issues, or the “twisties”, are a mysterious, yet very dangerous phenomenon. All of a sudden, a gymnasts body will not cooperate during a mid-air stunt and they will be unable to do a twisting skill they have done thousands of times before.
“I just don’t trust myself as much as I used to,” Biles told reporters in Tokyo. “I’m a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics. I feel like I’m also not having as much fun.” Biles has been praised for her bravery and for raising awareness surrounding mental health issues in relation to the Olympic Games.
Following her training on Monday, Biles and her coaches decided that she could compete safely. Close family and friends of Biles are anticipating that she is expected to compete with a modified dismount, which usually relies on twisting.
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