Simone Biles addresses her critics after stepping back from Olympic Games

Simone Biles of the United States during training. Picture: Reuters/File Photo

Simone Biles of the United States during training. Picture: Reuters/File Photo

Published Jul 30, 2021


Simone Biles insists she "didn't quit" the Olympics as she opens up on mental health struggles and hits back at her critics.

The 24-year-old gymnast - who decided to withdraw from the team all-round final after her first apparatus and didn't complete in the individual all-around - has shared clips from her practice in Tokyo and opened up on her mental health struggles as she explained her mind and body were "not in sync" so she felt it was too risky to take part.

She wrote on Instagram: "For anyone saying I quit. I didn't quit, my mind & body are simply not in sync as you can see here.

"I don't think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface nor do I have to explain why I put health first...

"Physical health is mental health.(sic)"

Simone explained the phenomenon of "twisties", which sees gymnasts lose their grasp of where they are in the air, which puts them in danger when they land.

She said: "[You] literally can not 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."

And the athlete - who has gone "back to basics" and trained on soft surfaces - noted there is no set timeframe for the "twisties" to stop.

She wrote: "Something you have to take literally day by day, turn by turn."

Simone noted she has had "plenty of bad performances" during her career and has been able to carry on.

She added: "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!!!

"Hence why we have 4 team members bc ALLLLL of us can compete in team meet. Not just me. (sic)"

She noted "this was not happening" before she left the United States, but instead started happening "after prelims competition the VERY next morning".

She wrote: "By that time NO an alternate was not allowed to be placed in my position for you 'know it alls'. 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."