Gymnastics

Simone Biles' case of 'the twisties' is more than just mental block, gymnasts say

Prior to her withdrawal from the individual all-around final, Simone Biles cited a dreaded term known to gymnasts.

'It can be very dangerous' says 5-time Olympic medal gymnast Nastia Liukin

To the rest of the world, 'the twisties' are an unfamiliar term, but gymnasts understand what it is and the risk of competing with them. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Prior to her withdrawal from the individual all-around final, Simone Biles cited a dreaded term known to gymnasts.

To the rest of the world, 'the twisties' are an unfamiliar term, but gymnasts understand what it is and the risk of competing with it.

It has often been described as having a mental block in the air, but unlike some sports where it may cost you a result, it could pose serious physical harm.

WATCH | Simone Biles discusses decision to put her mental health first: 

Simone Biles withdraws from Olympic team final

2 months ago
3:21
Morgan Campbell joins 'The Extra Hour' to discuss Simone Biles withdrawing from the women's artistic gymnastics team final and the larger movement towards athletes prioritizing their mental health. 3:21

"I think when you actually take a look at what happened on that vault — she got lost," said five-time Olympic medal gymnast Nastia Liukin, on NBC Olympics.

"And any gymnast knows — we call it the "twisties" — and basically she was supposed to do another whole rotation and got completely lost in the air. It's a mental error, essentially, that every single gymnast goes through.

"If you are not 100 per cent sure of yourself, and where you are in the air, it can be very dangerous."

After struggling on her opening vault in the women's team final, Biles exited the event citing mental health concerns.

WATCH | Morgan Campbell discusses Biles' withdrawal from women's artistic final:

Simone Biles says she is putting 'mental health first'

2 months ago
1:34
After withdrawing from the artistic gymnastics women's team final, Simone Biles confirmed that she did not suffer a physical injury, but that she is putting her "mental health first." 1:34

Former gymnast Catherine Burns took to Twitter to further explain the twisties phenomenon.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post from Former gymnast Jacoby Miles adds to how dangerous it can be.

As the 24-year-old American focuses on her mental health, with her future at Tokyo 2020 undecided, an outpouring of support has followed.

WATCH | Simone Biles praises her teammates:

Simone Biles on teammates after her withdrawal: 'They should be super proud of themselves'

2 months ago
1:29
The American gymnast talked about her teammates stepping up after her withdrawal from the team competition. 1:29

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