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Simone Biles Overcomes 'The Twisties': Unique Journey of Gymnasts

Simone Biles' return to gymnastics has reignited the conversation around "the twisties" she experienced in Tokyo, shedding light on the mental health issues associated with the condition.

In the world of gymnastics, there is a phenomenon known as "the twisties." This term refers to a sudden loss of air awareness during a routine, and it has long been a dreaded and mysterious condition among athletes. However, two summers ago in Tokyo, Simone Biles brought the twisties into the spotlight when she publicly discussed her experience with the mental block that forced her to withdraw from several competitions at the 2020 Olympics.

Biles, the sport's biggest star, returned to win a bronze medal on the balance beam by performing a routine without any twisting elements. While she acknowledged that the twisties hadn't completely disappeared, she and her coach found a way to work around them. However, when Biles competes in the U.S. Classic in the Chicago suburbs this weekend, she won't have the option to avoid twisting elements. She is scheduled to compete in all four events, including the uneven bars, which she has described as mentally and physically challenging due to the continuous flipping, floating, and twisting from bar to bar.

Biles has expressed confidence in her abilities and assured her fans that she is "twisting again" and feeling fine. Nevertheless, her return to competition marks a significant victory in itself, considering the challenges she has faced. Not everyone is able to overcome the twisties and return to their previous level of performance.

One such athlete is Gage Dyer, who was training in Oklahoma and aiming for a spot at the 2021 world championships. Dyer had been performing well at the Olympic trials and had his sights set on increasing the difficulty of his routines. However, he suddenly experienced the twisties, causing the skills he had once mastered to become nearly impossible. Dyer struggled to understand what had happened and why he was suddenly unable to perform certain elements.

While there is no universal solution for the twisties, many gymnasts find it helpful to take a mental step back and allow themselves time to reset. Unfortunately for Dyer, who was trying to prove himself to the selection committee, this was not an option. An ankle injury further complicated matters, ultimately leading him to realize that pursuing a spot on the 2024 Olympic team was no longer feasible.

Dyer has since moved on from competitive gymnastics and now works in a show at Walt Disney World. Although he has made some progress in overcoming the twisties, he has made peace with his decision to retire and is content with the chapter of life he is currently in.

Dyer will be watching with interest as Biles returns to competition this weekend. He believes that Biles' openness about her struggles with the twisties has made it easier for others to discuss their own experiences. He sees her comeback as proof that it is possible to regain a certain level of performance and compete again, even after facing such challenges.

In conclusion, the twisties continue to be a topic of conversation in the gymnastics world, and Biles' return to competition serves as inspiration for others who may be dealing with similar issues. The journey to overcome the twisties is a difficult one, but Biles and other athletes like her are showing that there is a way back.

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