Friday, October 22, 2021

Let’s Talk Simone Biles’ ‘Twisties’ and Why They’re Dangerous

Simone Biles and her Twitter GOAT emoji

*Every sport has its own perils and pitfalls, and women’s gymnastic competition is no different.

Last week the world was literally stunned stupid when Simone Biles, often called the GOAT, announced that she would not be competing in two Olympic finales so that she may concentrate on her mental health.

Part of that mental health is a condition that affects gymnasts called twisties.  Biles recently told reporters that she was “having a little bit of the twisties,” which is described as a mental block that affects her performance.

It has to do with the ability, or lack thereof, to discern one’s position in space while performing an acrobatic maneuver.

As you can imagine, a misstep for a gymnast could be catastrophic.

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British gymnast Claudia Fragapane competed at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and suffered a similar mental block which resulted in her falling. Fragapane again fell, this time in April, following a mental block and suffered a head injury that forced her to miss the cut for the individual all-around final in Tokyo.

The twisties can cause someone to lose their sense of space and dimension as they’re in the air. This causes them to lose control of their body and they may perform extra twists or flips that they hadn’t intended to do. Sometimes, the person may find themselves unable to land safely on the floor.

Ricardo A. Hazell began his career in journalism in 1996 as a Research Intern for the prestigious Editor & Publisher Co. His byline has appeared in The Root, Washington Post, Black Enterprise and he helped define culture within the African Diaspora as Senior Cultural Contributor at The Shadow League. Currently working on the semi-autobiographical novel "Remorse".



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