Biles, the four-time Olympic gold medalist, on Friday said she would refrain from doing any twisting moves during performances on her tour because she was still struggling with a mental block that gymnasts call “the twisties,” which in part prompted her to withdraw from the team final and the individual all-around.
“Literally can not tell up from down,” Biles wrote in an Instagram story, explaining that the problem began the morning after Sunday’s team qualifying. “It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body.”
She wrote that she “seriously cannot comprehend how to twist,” and noted that this disconnect between her mind and body is scary and has happened before, but only on the vault and floor exercise. This time, it has affected all of her events, which presents a huge problem because she has qualified for all of the event finals here in Tokyo.
The uneven bars and vault finals are on Sunday, the floor exercise on Monday and the balance beam on Tuesday. So Biles might be running out of time if she intends to compete. She said it usually takes her two weeks or more to bounce back to normal after the start of a problem like this and is training at a gym in Tokyo that has soft landings for her to ease back into her skills.
Lee is scheduled and ready to compete in event finals on her specialty, the uneven bars, and on the balance beam. She is feeling some pressure to win even more medals. Along with her all-around gold medal, she won a silver in the team final. And more medals, perhaps at the world championships in Japan, might be in her future as well.
She would like to compete at the world championships and isn’t counting out the 2024 Paris Games.
“We’ll have to see, though, because it just seems like a lot of time to continue gymnastics,” she said of the next Olympics, which are only three years away. “But, yeah, it’s definitely something that I’m thinking about.”
She would be 21, and still in college, during those Olympics in Paris.