India Flash Bulletin

Since Tokyo 2020, seven-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles will compete

<p>Gymnasts fear the phrase “The Twisties,” which refers to when an athlete unexpectedly loses awareness of their surroundings while doing a performance.</p>
<p>When Simone Biles, a seven-time gold winner at the Olympics, encountered the same mental barrier during the 2020 Games, she spoke those words in Tokyo. In order to protect herself, she was even compelled to drop out of a number of events, including the team and all-around finals.</p>
<p>Mark Williams, a longstanding coach of Oklahoma’s men’s gymnastics team, stated, “It’s almost like a mythical kind of thing.” Everyone shivers when someone mentions “the twisties” because it’s horrible.<img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-111100″ src=”” alt=”” width=”1329″ height=”747″ srcset=” 299w,×84.jpg 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 1329px) 100vw, 1329px” /></p>
<p>Biles came back to take home the bronze medal on the balancing beam by doing a slightly modified program without any twisting movements. She described the victory as lovely even though it was her eighth Olympic gold and she acknowledged that the twisties were still there. She’d recently discovered a workaround with her coach Cecile Landi.</p>
<p>That won’t be an option on Saturday when Biles competes in the U.S. Classic in the Chicago suburbs for the first time since Tokyo. The 26-year-old Biles will compete in all four events starting on Thursday, including uneven bars, which she admitted this week on her Instagram stories feed has been the hardest discipline to return to “both mentally and physically” because the routines are essentially 45 seconds of nonstop flipping, floating, and twisting from bar to bar.</p>
<p>The most decorated female gymnast of all time said, “I’m OK. Biles has the right to decide at any moment what she feels comfortable doing and not doing at this point. I’m turning once again. Not to worry. All is well.</p>
<p>Making it back to this stage is already a win, regardless of how this weekend or the next 12 months leading up to the Paris Olympics go.</p>
<p>Some people don’t.</p>
<p>About a month after Biles brought up “the twisties” and the related mental health problems, Gage Dyer was training in Oklahoma and aiming for a position at the 2021 world championships.</p>
<p>Dyer’s confidence was at an all-time high after his strong showings in the 2021 Olympic trials, when he placed third on vault and fourth on floor exercise. However, he was aware that if he wanted to reach the worlds, he had to make his routines more challenging.</p>
<p>More bending. Continue flipping. Since he started competing in gymnastics at the very advanced age of 13, elements have come naturally to him. It didn’t stop him, however. In less than five years, Dyer had established himself at Oklahoma, one of the top men’s programs in the nation.</p>
<p>In 2018, he was consistently participating in national meets. He won many NCAA championships by the spring of 2021. He had heard of “the twisties,” but he had never really experienced them. Everything had been so simple for so long that he thought he would never struggle.</p>
<p>The fundamentals he had grasped so quickly at a young age then basically disappeared in the late summer or early autumn of 2021.</p>
<p>Williams took note. Not that Dyer wanted to discuss it.</p>
<p>Williams stated, “He just didn’t tell me.” He just ceased carrying out some of his previous activities. ‘How come you’re not doing it,’ I would ask. I simply got lost, I’m not doing it today, he would remark. After a few days, “You figure that out?” “No, not just yet.</p>
<p>Perhaps it was the pressure of being 23 years old, when a male gymnast usually reaches the peak of his abilities, and feeling like he was “on the clock.” Perhaps it was the narrow balance he was attempting to tread between quickly ramping up the challenge and honing his “old” talents. Maybe something else was involved.</p>
<p>Dyer still doesn’t know exactly what occurred. All he knows is that he could do a “full in”—a double backflip with a full twist added—for years before he lost his ability to do so.</p>
<p>The full-in had always been “super basic” until it almost became unachievable.</p>
<p>In Dyer’s words, “If I can’t do this, then I have a serious problem.”</p>
<p>Although there is no universal treatment for “the twisties,” many gymnasts find that taking a mental step back helps them reset their internal processes. Dyer didn’t have that luxury as he tried to convince the selection committee that he was prepared to fight on the international level.</p>
<p>He was eventually removed from the competition due to an ankle ailment sustained during training. He hoped that the little respite the injury offered would enable him to make sense of it. Not at all.</p>
<p>He would repeatedly find himself attempting to toss the most basic abilities into a foam pit, at least basic abilities for someone with his résumé, only for it to devolve into “complete chaos.” On his back, he would land. On his side, he would land. It seemed to be everywhere save his feet.</p>
<p>Dyer compared it to a dream, or even a nightmare, in which you must flee for your life but find that despite the movement of your legs, you are merely standing still.</p>
<p>In Dyer’s words, “I just reached a point where I knew if I continued to try and push through, I’m going to land on my head and seriously hurt.”</p>
<p>Although Dyer was able to keep up some of the tumbling talents that made him a floor exercise and vault expert, such as triple-back pikes, which only needed flipping and not twisting, by February 2022 he knew attempting to make a run at the 2024 Olympic squad was pointless.</p>
<p>“It wouldn’t have been beneficial for me,” he added, “the struggle of trying to compete and trying to maintain that top level of competitiveness while I was dealing with what I was dealing with.”</p>
<p>Dyer relocated to Florida and is now employed by Walt Disney World in the “Lion King” performance, where a portion of his duties include working on a trampoline. When “the twisties” were at their worst, some items that he believed were lost forever have reappeared. Just not enough to make him think about leaving retirement.</p>
<p>While watching gymnastics, I’ll truly miss it and think to myself, “I could come back if I wanted to,” Dyer said. “I’m sort of at peace with what I’ve done, but also. It’s crossed my mind once or twice. But I fail to see it. I really like the stage of life I’m in.</p>
<p>Dyer will be watching on Saturday night as Biles returns to the spotlight for the first time since those bizarre two weeks in Japan, when the entire sports world paused to watch one athlete go from being the heavy favorite to win a fistful of gold medals to essentially serving as a cheerleader for her American teammates as she and her coaches tried to figure out what went wrong.</p>
<p>He thinks that Biles’ candor on her struggle with “the twisties” has made it more acceptable to discuss.</p>
<p>She is now demonstrating that you can return to a certain level and compete, he added. That nothing is really over. There is a path to return.</p>

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