Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles broke down in tears in an emotional interview this morning as she discussed how dealing with ‘the twisties’ has meant she is no longer able to do stunts she has been doing ‘forever.’
The 24-year-old has admitted that since the Tokyo Olympics where she dropped out of several events due to mental health concerns she hasn’t been able to go back to stunts that involve twisting in mid-air.
‘To do something that I’ve done forever and just not be able to do it because of everything I’ve gone through is really crazy because I love this sport so much,’ she told Today show host Hoda Kotb, blinking away tears.
‘It’s hard. I’m sorry. And I don’t think people understand the magnitude of what I go through, but for so many years to go through everything that I’ve gone through having a front, I’m proud of myself.’
Biles said that she is doing ‘a lot better’ since the twisties took her out of Tokyo.
The condition is similar to the ‘yips’ in other sports, when athletes psych themselves out — but in gymnastics, it can mean losing a feel for where the gymnasts is in the air, which can lead to catastrophic injury, or even death, if they land wrong.
Biles is currently on tour with teammates Jordan Chiles, MyKayla Skinner, Jade Carey, and Grace McCallum, and she said it’s difficult to watch them all doing twists in the air just as she had done for years because now she can’t do them.