Simone Biles Still Haunted by the Past Despite Beating ‘Twisties’ and Clinching Records

Published 09/20/2023, 11:18 PM EDT

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Simone Biles, the gymnastics legend had faced dreaded challenges in 2021. This came as she revealed her struggles with ‘Twisties.’ These elusive mental blocks left Biles, a seven-time Olympic champion, in a state of vulnerability. The Tokyo Olympics in 2021 witnessed Simone Biles’ brave decision to pull out of the women’s team event due to this battle which first appeared in practice, leading to an uncharacteristic stumble during her vault. Following the Tokyo Olympics, Biles took a two-year hiatus from the sport. Fast forward to 2023, and Biles has now made a triumphant comeback.

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With a resounding victory first at the Core Hydration Classic, Biles claimed the all-around title with a score of 59.100. Then followed the Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships, where she further solidified her legacy as she clinched her astonishing 8th national title, tallying a two-day AA score of 118.450. Remarkably, after the team trial selections, Biles secured her spot at the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, becoming the only U.S. woman in history to compete at six such championships. Despite these remarkable accomplishments, however, Biles remains a prisoner of her past.

Simone Biles struggled to move on from her 2021 ordeal

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The world was shaken by Simone Biles’s sudden withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics. Years after the dust had long settled in, the 26-year-old gymnast and her coach are still wary of the twisties. An update posted on X (Twitter), quoting an interview with Biles, revealed, “Simone said she’s going to stick with the Yurchenko double pike and Cheng (no Amanar). Simone said she thinks Laurent is stressed about the Amanar because of what happened in Tokyo.”

According to another post on X (Twitter) by Gymnastics Now, Biles has stated that her primary choice in vaults would be the Yurchenko double pike which only she has managed to perfect, and the Cheng vault. However, after a recent mishap during the championships where she injured her ankle on the Yurchenko double pike, she contemplated the inclusion of a backup vault.

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Simone Biles’s coach had concerns

The American gymnast stated, “After championships, I was like, ‘Laurent, I think we should do a backup vault, like maybe we should start training the 2.5 (Amanar), and he was like, ‘The backup vault is the double pike!’ and I think he’s a little bit more stressed about the 2.5, obviously, because of what happened [in Tokyo]. I think after this we could play around with it just ‘cuz, but I’m not sure. So at the moment, those are gonna be the two vaults.”  This shows her coach’s cautious approach, given the complex and demanding nature of the Amanar vault.

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This move involves intricate twists, which might explain her coach’s concerns regarding her readiness to perform them at the highest level. As of now, Simone Biles stands on the cusp of history. On the other hand, she was selected to represent the United States at the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, per a report by MyUSAG.

Losing to Simone Biles Despite Major Lead, Shilese Jones Does the Unthinkable at Day 2 of World Gymnastics Championships Selection Camp

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Battling the ‘Twisties,’ Biles faced her fears head-on and made a triumphant return to gymnastics. If she continues on this remarkable trajectory, it will certainly pave her path to the Paris Olympics in 2024, where she may have the chance to add to her legacy of seven Olympic medals. Fans await the unfolding of her legacy as she once again graces the global stage.

Watch this story: LSU Gymnast Olivia Dunne Pulls Off a Stunning Vault Routine to Pay Tribute to the Sport of Gymnastics

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Written by:

Christaline Meyers

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One take at a time

Christaline Meyers is a pro-writer for Essentially Sports. Having contributed to movies and web series, Christaline delved into sports journalism and like the puck on the ice, has been a force to be reckoned with in the US sports arena. Her experience in writing about the latest WSL event, the recent track and field record, and creative gymnastics routines, found her digging deeper into the minds of legends like Kelly Slater, Usain Bolt, and Simone Biles.
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Edited by:

Tiyasa Biswas

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