'It's the Craziest Feeling': Simone Biles Opens About Withdrawing From the Olympics Due to the 'Twisties'

The Olympic gymnast said she wanted to protect her safety, and her team's chances at winning.

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles elaborated on why she chose to withdraw from the Olympic competitions in Tokyo in an Instagram story posted on Thursday night. The gold medalist said she has been struggling with what is called the “Twisties,” which inhibits her ability to “tell up from down.”

The “Twisties” are a type of disassociation, which can lead to serious injury for athletes.

“It’s the craziest feeling ever," Biles said.

It isn’t the first time Biles, 24, said she has experienced it, she said, noting they had usually lasted around two or more weeks in the past but never impacted her bars or beam performances. On Tuesday, Biles said she became disoriented while performing on vault.

She added that she isn’t sure if she will compete in individual competitions next week. Biles withdrew from the team final and women’s individual all-around, citing mental health reasons earlier this week. Team USA went on to win a silver medal. Her teammate Suni Lee won gold in the women’s individual.

“I didn't quit; my mind and body are simply not in sync,” she said of her withdrawal.

She added that she felt her safety was at risk, as well as a team medal.

"I don't think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surfaces," she added. "Nor do I have to explain why I put my health first. Physical health is mental health.”

On Wednesday, USA Gymnastic said Biles will be monitored daily to see if it will be safe for her to compete next week.

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