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Simone Biles learned "how to say no" at the Tokyo Olympics

·2-min read
Photo credit: Katharine Lotze - Getty Images
Photo credit: Katharine Lotze - Getty Images

Simone Biles has offered more insight into her experience at this year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The world's most decorated gymnast opened up about withdrawing from the women's team final. She recalled feeling anxious and nervous once she got to Japan, without her usual support system, and having to deal with Covid-19 testing and other pandemic measures during the competition.

Biles also revealed that her team began looking for solutions from the earliest event. She told The Cut: "I was not physically capable. Every avenue we tried, my body was like, 'Simone, chill. Sit down. We're not doing it.' And I've never experienced that."

The seven-time Olympic medalist also opened up about experiencing "twisties" during her vault performance at the women's team final, a mind-body disconnection that she described as "so dangerous."

"'It's basically life or death. It's a miracle I landed on my feet. If that was any other person, they would have gone out on a stretcher. As soon as I landed that vault, I went and told my coach: 'I cannot continue,'" she said.

Currently, Biles is working through her complicated feelings about the Olympics in therapy, which she started at the beginning of the pandemic. "This will probably be something I work through for 20 years. No matter how much I try to forget. It’s a work in progress," she shared.

Photo credit: Laurence Griffiths - Getty Images
Photo credit: Laurence Griffiths - Getty Images

Despite the negative comments she received when she withdrew, including those from trolls claiming that she shouldn't have "quit," Biles does not regret her decision.

"Everybody asks, 'If you could go back, would you?' No. I wouldn't change anything because everything happens for a reason. And I learned a lot about myself—courage, resilience, how to say no and speak up for yourself," she said.

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