July 28, 2021

How Fear Affects the Mental Health and Physical Safety of Elite Gymnasts: "The twisties are a mysterious phenomenon -- suddenly a gymnast is no longer able to do a twisting skill she's done thousands of times before. Your body just won't cooperate, your brain loses track of where you are in the air. You find out where the ground is when you slam into it."

posted by rcade to olympics at 01:14 PM - 4 comments

There are a lot of people going for the gold in the Idiot Olympics with their hot takes on Simone Biles' withdrawal. It's like people don't get at all that these athletes have to draw upon incredible mental capabilities in addition to physical ones, and if the mental side isn't there they can't just ignore that and perform at their peak.

posted by rcade at 01:19 PM on July 28, 2021

When I was in high school, I did the high jump for our track 'n field team. One day at practice, I ran up to the bar and found that I could no longer do it. It was the oddest thing. I kept at it, though, and one day...I just friggin' gave it up as a lost art.

(In no way am I comparing myself to Simone Biles. I'm just saying that I understand how this can happen.)

posted by NoMich at 02:27 PM on July 28, 2021

Some people have realized that hot stupid takes can get them that 15 minutes of fame they so crave, and the internet makes them louder than a Marshall stack turned up past 11.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:06 AM on July 29, 2021

I'd never heard of the twisties before, which seems to be specific to gymnasts and other aerialists including professional wrestlers. But it appears to be just like any other mental breakdown related to one's ability to perform on the athletic field. And--just ask Chuck Knoblauch--that shit is real.

So Ms. Biles is suffering from the twisties, and despite the fact that she is the most decorated gymnast in US history, and despite the fact that she has been representing this country with a shocking level of skill, grace, and class for almost a decade, and despite the fact that an error could end not just her Olympics, but even her career, her ability to walk, or her life, people are calling her a quitter. I'm pretty close to giving up on humanity.

posted by tahoemoj at 05:29 PM on July 29, 2021

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