Saturday, January 22

Simone Biles twists: mental block that puts gymnasts at serious risk | Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Simone Biles almost never misses his vault of Amanar. There are numerous occasions when you have taken off during uneven bar routines, when your landings on the ground have contained cannon-sized steps, and certainly when you have wanted to take a saw to the balance beam and split it in half. . But Amanar, dangerous and difficult as it may be, has always been one of his most trusted abilities.

So when she completely lost her way in the middle of her two and a half laps during the women’s team final at the Tokyo Games, it became clear that something beyond the ordinary was wrong.

Biles’s withdrawal during the women’s team final and his subsequent departure from the general final on Thursday to preserve his sanity has also underscored the dangers inherent in gymnastics and the need to be in the right frame of mind to even try. that.

During her late-night press conference on Tuesday, Biles explained that she too had “twisties,” a word for a mental block in which gymnasts lose their spatial awareness amid complex skills. It’s a familiar, scary, and dangerous sensation for gymnasts.

Among many others, Aleah Finnegan, a gymnast for the US national team, was invited to speak on the subject on Twitter. “I’ve had twists since I was 11 years old,” he wrote. “I can’t imagine the fear of it happening to you during the competition. They have very limited equipment and mats in Tokyo to help something like this get fixed, let alone in one day. You have absolutely no control over your body and what it does. “

Much of gymnastics is mental and where the sport differs from many others is that if gymnasts are not in the right frame of mind to execute their dangerous skills, they will not simply run slower or hit a ball against a fence. Every complex skill carries the risk of serious injury, and it’s something they are keenly aware of every day. By preserving his sanity, Biles also protects himself physically.

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As she has sparked discussions around the world, an encouraging sight has been that of the countless gymnasts who have offered their support. After the men’s final, Sam Mikulak spoke passionately about his fellow American, whose success he has shared as national champions for a long time. “We have had some conversations,” he said. “It seems like he’s doing his best for her. It is amazing to see that she has managed to go against the pressure of society and do what is best for her.

“I am very proud of her for prioritizing mental health and making sure everyone knows and understands that we are not just athletes. We are human beings, and sometimes it is too much, and when that is the case, you must do what is best for you. He seems to be in a good mood. She is very happy with her decision. Everyone was trying to pick her up and make her smile. She is a very smiling girl in general, so it was not that difficult to do. “

Mikulak, who plans to retire after Tokyo, spoke about the weight of expectations that come along with success. “You go to Twitter and everyone says, ‘Oh, I’m really looking forward to this. I want this from this person. Oh, Simone is going to be the world’s medal factory. ‘

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