Simone Biles explained her experience with the “twisties” and answered questions about her status on her Instagram Story late Thursday.
Biles posted a few videos of her practicing twists on a matted floor, providing updates with typed captions.
“almost there but not quite…” she wrote in one, and “no this was not happening before I left the usa” in another.
She then offered to answered questions from her followers about the twisties. In a series of responses, she noted that she’s experienced them in the past and that it’s typically taken her two or more weeks to get over them.
She said her approach to conquering the twisties includes “going back to basics” and using “soft surfaces / pits” — as she did in practice.
She also tried to describe the sensation of it.
“Sometimes I can’t even fathom twisting,” Biles wrote. “I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist … strangest & weirdest thing as well as feeling.”
“They’re not fun to deal with,” she wrote in another comment. “It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync.”
“For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit … my mind & body are simply not in sync,” Biles wrote.
“I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface,” Biles continued. “Nor do I have to explain why I put health first … Physical health is mental health.”
Biles pulled out of Tuesday’s team final after struggling to stick the landing on her first vault. In another Instagram Story comment, she reflected on that moment being in the air.
“I also have no idea how I landed on my feed on that vault bc if you look at the pictures & my eyes you can see how confused I am as to where I am in the air.”
Biles later withdrew from Thursday’s individual all-around final, in which she had been a favorite to top the podium. Teammate Suni Lee, who had already qualified as another favorite for the event, stepped up to win the gold medal for Team USA in her absence.
It’s still unclear if Biles will compete in the rest of the individual event finals, which begin on Sunday morning.
U.S. gymnasts are still winning medals without the marquee name Simone Biles. NBCLX Storyteller Chase Cain, who is covering the Olympic Games from Tokyo, talks about the USA gymnastics team and how athletes are winning medals while supporting and relating to the pressure Biles said she is feeling.