She’s back! Simone Biles will compete on balance beam along with Sunisa “Suni” Lee during the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, August 3, after the gymnast withdrew from four events amid mental health concerns.
“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!!” USA Gymnastics tweeted to announce the news during the early hours of Monday, August 2. “Can’t wait to watch you both!”
The Dancing With the Stars champ, 24, has been working through the “twisties.” Usually caused by a mental block, the “twisties” are when an athlete loses awareness in mid-air, which makes it incredibly difficult to land safely, Today reported after speaking with Simone’s coach, Aimee Boorman.
“Every once in a while, she would form this block and it usually had nothing to do with the gymnastics itself, it had to do with other things going on in her universe,” Aimee said about Simone.
The Ohio native took to Instagram to attempt to explain how she was feeling. “I can’t even fathom twisting. I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist,” she wrote on July 29, CBS reported. “It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind and body in sync … 10/10 do not recommend.”
Simone unexpectedly pulled out of the Team finals on July 27, with USA Gymnastics citing a “medical issue.” The decision came after the four-time Olympic gold medal winner had a shaky performance on her first event, the vault.
She scored a 13.766 for her routine, which is the lowest vault score of her career. After finishing, Simone, who is the most decorated gymnast in history, left with the team’s medical trainer Marcia Faustin and returned in her warm-up gear. Jordan Chiles filled in for the remainder of the Team finals, and Team USA went on to win a silver medal.
The Simone vs. Herself star noted via Instagram she removed herself from the competition for her safety not because of how she did on vault.
“I didn’t have a bad performance and quit. I’ve had plenty of bad performances throughout my career and finished [the] competition,” she said. “I simply got so lost my safety was at risk as well as a team medal.”
She added, “I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surfaces. Nor do I have to explain why I put my health first. Physical health is mental health.”
The following day, the Courage to Soar author announced she was withdrawing from the all-around competition. On July 30, she also said she would not compete on the vault and uneven bars finals. She then withdrew from floor finals the following day.
Jade Carey, who was been competing as an individual, replaced Simone in the all-around competition and scored eighth overall. MyKayla Skinner, who was also competing as an individual, took her place in the vault finals and secured a silver medal.