What happened to Simone Biles in Tokyo? Explaining the events of 2021 Olympics that led to the American gymnast taking a break for mental health

Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 11
Simone Biles of Team United States poses with the bronze medal following the Women's Balance Beam Final on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Simone Biles is considered among the greatest gymnasts of all time due to her accomplishments in the sport. Back in 2021, the American gymnast stated that she was experiencing twisties during the Olympics and withdrew from several events. She decided to take a break from competitive gymnastics following this and has returned to action only recently.

After the qualifying rounds at the Tokyo Olympics, Biles wrote on Instagram that she feels the weight of the world on her shoulders. Competing in the finals of the team event, Biles was expected to perform an 'Amanar'. It is a back-flipping vault with 2.5 twists.

However, the American gymnast did only 1.5 twists and stumbled on her landing. She was able to earn a score of 13.766 but withdrew from the rest of the team competition.

Biles later confirmed that the withdrawal was not due to an injury but mental health reasons. According to Sportstar, Simone Biles made the following statement after the event:

"I just don't trust myself as much as I used to. I'm little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics. I feel like I'm also not having as much fun. They saw it little bit in practice..having a little bit of the twisties."

Twisties is the feeling of being lost in the air, making an athlete unable to complete skills. The gymnasts are not able to perform even a simple twisting skill when they are experiencing this phenomenon.

During the post-event press conference, she also stated that another main reason for her withdrawal from the team event was that she didn't want to cost her teammates a medal. According to the Olympics website, the GOAT gymnast said:

"I was like, 'I think the girls need to do the rest of the competition without me,' and they were like, 'I promise you, you're fine. We watched you warm up.' And I said, 'No, I know I'm going to be fine, but I can't risk a medal for the team, so I need to call it. And you usually don't hear me say things like that because I'll usually persevere and push through things, but not to cost the team a medal."

Subsequently, Biles withdrew from the individual all-around finals, vault finals, uneven bars finals, and the floor exercise finals as well. The celebrated gymnast competed in the balance beam finals and won the bronze medal with a score of 14.000. Since the Tokyo Olympics, she had been away from competitive gymnastics until the 2023 US Classic.


Simone Biles' life post the Tokyo Olympics

While Simone Biles took time off from competitive gymnastics after the conclusion of the Tokyo Olympics, she had more time to concentrate on her personal life. The American gymnast announced her engagement to NFL player Jonathan Owens in February 2022.

The couple got married in April 2023. And in June, it was announced that Biles will make her return to competitive gymnastics during the 2023 US Classic. Competing in her first competition since the Tokyo Olympics, the champion gymnast claimed the women's all-around, balance beam, and floor exercise titles.

The victory has helped Simone Biles qualify for the nationals, which will be held later this month. If her impressive comeback continues, we might get to witness her compete in the 2024 Olympics at Paris.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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