<p>“Simply, your life is in danger when you’re doing gymnastics.”</p>

“Simply, your life is in danger when you’re doing gymnastics.”

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Simone Biles, the most accomplished U.S. gymnast of all time, withdrew from the women’s all-around gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympics — and her “likes” on Twitter further prove she made the right decision.

The four time Gold-medal winning champion opted out of the all-around competition just after doing the same at the women’s final, during which a slight error forced the athlete to make an awkward landing. “After the performance I did, I just didn’t want to go on. I have to focus on my mental health,” Biles said. “I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now. We have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.”

Later, Biles admitted to reporters she was “having a little bit of the ‘twisties.’” (More on that below.)

“We’re not just athletes. We’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back,” she continued. “I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and get hurt. At the end of the day, we don’t want to be carried out of there on a stretcher.” And most viewers don’t seem to realise that “leaving on a stretcher” could have easily been Biles’ reality.

In a series of tweets, Deanna Hong, producer of “Golden: The Journey of USA’s Elite Gymnasts,” broke down just how dangerous Biles’ aforementioned “awkward” landing could have been.

“One former US elite gymnast I talked to said that if it was someone other than Simone Biles who had made that same error, they would have certainly blown a knee, at minimum,” Hong tweeted. “Another said if it had happened to her instead of Simone, ‘I probably would have ended up paralyzed.’”

“Most non-gymnastics fans do not understand the seriousness of what happened because she landed on her feet,” Hong continued. “Every elite gymnast I’ve talked to has said that Simone Biles’s vault was TERRIFYING and it’s a miracle she put that vault to her feet & avoided seriously injuring herself.”

Biles also liked several tweets about “twisties,” including The Washington Post’s summary of the gymnastics phenomenon. “Twisties” may sound cute, but for gymnasts, they’re anything but.

A case of the “twisties” can essentially be described as suffering from an aggressive form of cold feet, or the yips — but whilst in the air. Suddenly, highly-trained athletes are unable to complete the twist they’ve done thousands of times before, becoming disoriented as a result, only locating the floor when their feet inevitably collide with it — should they be lucky.

“Simply, your life is in danger when you’re doing gymnastics,” Sean Melton, a former elite gymnast, told The Washington Post. “And then when you add this unknown of not being able to control your body while doing these extremely dangerous skills, it adds an extreme level of stress. And it’s terrifying, honestly, because you have no idea what is going to happen.”

Biles also liked a tweet that said, “As someone who did a vault while having the twisties, resulting in temporary paralysis, a 3 week hospital stay, months of physical therapy, and a toll to my mental health, I couldn’t be more proud of @Simone_Biles decision, even on the world’s biggest stage.”

We are, once again, so proud of Simone Biles for making the right decision for the well-being of both her mind and body.

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