Scared of Ban in America, Simone Biles Was Ready to Quit Gymnastics After Tokyo Nightmare: “I’m Fighting Demons”

Published 04/17/2024, 12:51 AM EDT

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Simone Biles introduced her inner self to the world when she was on the way to earning another gymnastics medal in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The 4x Olympic champion was already known to all for her gymnastics prowess on the vault table or balance beam. But she had to bow out from the gymnastics all-around final because of her ‘twisties’, the condition when a gymnast’s body and mind don’t act together. Now, after almost 3 years, Biles once again pulled off the curtains from the emotional rollercoaster journey she faced post Tokyo Olympics.  

On 17th April, in a conversation with Call Her Daddy, Simone Biles, reminisced about the incident. Apart from the ‘twisties’ fiasco, the alleged issue with her coach also complicated the situation. She mentioned, “I thought I would be banned from America. Coz that’s what they tell you. If it’s not gold, don’t come back,” stated Biles. Those low points took an enormous toll on her, leaving her completely unsettled. After witnessing the situation, Simone could only claim, “I am fighting with demons” to her mates. Some patches are still there with her. 


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As Simone Biles recollected, she could never forgive her for all of her decisions. The mental stigma took such a toll on her at that age that still receives flashbacks of her Tokyo Olympic failures. Despite that, Simone Biles is still not ready to call her gymnastics career a day. In the conversation with Call Her Daddy, she felt emotional when talking about a period of life where her surroundings were almost successful in breaking her bond with gymnastics. But with certain changes in mindset, Simone Biles is now eagerly eyeing for her Olympic return, to finish the tasks that she left unattended in Tokyo. And she is not alone there.

Simone Biles acknowledges the power of love and support 

Her coaches Cecile and Laurent Landi are like the pillars of her vocation. “I really feel like [coach Laurent Landi] is always one step ahead of me. So every time I would come into the gym, he was like, ‘O.K., so I have some set routines for you.’ And I’m like, ‘What? I’m literally just trying to get in shape!” Simone had once said about her beloved coach. With this solid support system, she has come back stronger than ever. “I think I’m in better shape than I was in 2021,” she had stated confidently in the recent past.


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Last year, in August, Simone Biles made her first appearance after withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics. Her victory in every challenge thereafter proved her hunger for the Olympic gold. Yet, bringing back a shadow of the past, she was apprehensive that fans might not embrace his return. But it all changed when she made that comeback finally.


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“…the outpouring of love and support that I had on Twitter, on Instagram and in the arena was just really shocking and surprising to me, that they still have so much belief in me…I was really nervous to compete again. I can’t ask for more,” she expressed her heartfelt gratitude back then. With that backing from multiple quarters, Biles seems even more poised to bring back that golden triumph.


Written by:

Prasun Chakrabarty


One take at a time

Prasun Chakrabarty is an Olympic Sports Writer for EssentiallySports, who specializes in covering aquatic arena events. Post his experiences with popular publications including PinkVilla, Prasun began his days in ES, by actively covering two prime events - 2023 US Open Swimming Championships and the 2024 TYR Pro Swim Series. Prasun's coverage extends beyond the pool, and he takes specific interest in the progress of the triangular rivalry between track and field stars, Sha’Carri Richardson, Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. You can follow him on:-
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Edited by:

Bhujaya Ray Chowdhury