The 2021 Olympics have been at the forefront of many minds recently. Likewise, the word “twisties” has been a frequent topic of conversation since Olympic gymnast Simone Biles brought them up. Read on to find out what they are…
Performing At The Olympics
When Simone Biles joined the Tokyo Olympics this year, many around the world watched her hopefully. However, sadly, when she arrived, Biles faced many challenges. One of the issues she faced was the “twisties.” What are they? Well, Biles took to Instagram to explained. The twisites are when gymnasts get a particular mental block that causes them to lose track midair.
“It’s never transferred to bars & beam for me. It strictly likes floor & vault,” she wrote in the social media post. “But this time it’s literally on every event. which sucks… really bad.” Both of the videos, where she failed to do enough twists on the dismounts, are now taken down. “It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync,” Biles continued in the now-deleted videos.
How Twisties Affect An Athlete
How does one get over twisties? Well, the process varies. Gymnasts have to practice a lot to deal with them; it’s “something you have to take literally day by day, turn by turn,” Biles said. She also said hers can last for two or more weeks! In the end, the twisties made Biles decide against competing. “I chose to not continue team competition in jeopardizing losing a medal (of any color) for the girls / U.S. also for my own safety and health,” Biles stated.
Twisties are a challenging part of becoming an incredible gymnast. Just ask Laurie Hernandez, Biles’ Olympic teammate in 2016! She also had to deal with the issue, saying even the slightest problem can affect an Olympic gymnast. “The rhythm is off, and your brain will like stutter step for half a second, and that’s enough to throw off the whole skill,” she said. “And, so, it happens, and it takes a second to get over that.” And she isn’t the only one speaking out on the issue…
Twisties Add To Mental Pressure
Thankfully, Biles is not alone and has a great team to support her. For instance, former U.S. national team member Aleah Finnegan lent her support to Biles on Twitter. She says she has needed to deal with the twisties since she was 11-years-old! “They have very limited equipment and mats in Tokyo to help something like this get fixed, let alone with in a day,” said Finnegan.
“You have absolutely no control over your body and what it does. The more you psych yourself [out] about it, the worse it becomes,” Hernandez explained. “I’ve had the twisties before. Hated it – so much. It’s painful…it actively makes you feel like you’re not the caliber of athlete that you are.”
We wish Simone Biles all the best – it seems she plans to return to the Olympics to battle the twisties!