Superstar gymnast Simone Biles defended her decision to withdraw from Olympic competitions on her Instagram story on Thursday night, explaining that she is still struggling from what is known as the “twisties,” and isn’t sure if she will be able to compete in individual competitions scheduled for next week.

This week, Biles pulled out of both the team final and the women’s individual all-around at the Tokyo Games to focus on her mental health. Team USA won silver in the team event, and Biles’ teammate Suni Lee won gold in the individual — the fifth American woman in a row to do so.

Opening up on Instagram stories overnight, Biles, a six-time Olympic medalist, answered questions from her fans about a condition that gymnasts call the “twisties” — a frightening state of disassociation that prevents athletes from successfully completing a skill, which can lead to serious injury.


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