After quitting five of her six finals in Japan, four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles admits she “should have resigned well before Tokyo.”
After “everything I’ve gone through for the past seven years,” the 24-year-old says in a New York Magazine interview, “I should never have made another Olympic team.” In 2018, Biles revealed that she was molested by team doctor Larry Nassar, who is now serving a life term in prison. The American says, “It was too much.”
However, I was not about to let him take something I’d toiled for since I was six years old.
Biles was expected to win more gold medals in Tokyo 2020, but she withdrew from five of the five finals, citing a need to focus on her mental health. She later revealed that she was suffering from the “twisties,” a perilous mental block in which gymnasts lose their orientation in the air, and went on to win a bronze on the balancing beam.
Biles had been seeing a therapist in the months leading up to the Games, and she says she was anxious when she arrived in Tokyo, partly owing to coronavirus restrictions that prevented fans and families from attending. The 19-time world champion describes competing with the ‘twisties’ as “essentially life or death,” adding that “it’s a miracle I landed on my feet” after it set in mid-vault. Biles also mentioned the added pressure she faces as a result of her race.
Biles testified in September before a Senate committee investigating flaws in the FBI’s probe against Nassar. She is currently back in rehab and travelling the country with other members of the US gymnastics team, but she has yet to determine whether or not she will compete again. “This is something I’ll probably be working on for the next 20 years,” Biles says.