Secret gym helped Simone Biles try to recover from ‘twisties’

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 8:26 AM EDT
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(CNN) - After winning a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Simone Biles thanked the secret gym where she trained before the competition and that helped her to overcome “the twisties.”

Biles revealed it was the Ogawa gymnastics arena where she came to train in secret after pulling out of most Olympic competition because of mental health issues.

She posted a shot of the uneven bars on her Instagram. She was training for hours on end to try to get over what gymnasts call the “twisties,” that disconnect between their mind and their body.

After Biles had to pull out of the all-around team competition, the coaches at Juntendo University, about an hour outside of Tokyo, said they got a call from Team USA.

The team said they needed to find a place where Biles could train away from the media, away from the cameras, away from the scrutiny. And so she came here.

“She was trying to do things that she wasn’t able to do. She was really trying to figure out what was wrong,” said Wataru Kawai, gymnastics coach at Juntendo University. “She was very different. It looked like she was suffering. I was hoping I could do something to help her.”

Simone Biles left a thank-you message on the white board of the gym where she trained in secret...
Simone Biles left a thank-you message on the white board of the gym where she trained in secret to try to defeat the 'twisties.'(Source: CNN)

Biles even left a thank-you message on the whiteboard of the Ogawa gymnastics arena, and she thanked Juntendo University on Twitter saying she will be forever grateful for the chance to come here and try to get her skills back.

“Working with Team USA and helping get Simone back on her feet, if we were even a small part of that, I think it was a big success and it makes me very happy,” said Kazuhiro Aoki, a professor at Juntendo University.

Biles was training on the gym’s balance beam and realized that this was the only event she would be able to compete in because there was no twisting movement involved.

Over a period of days, in secret, she spent in secret hours inside the gymnastics arena trying to perfect her balance beam routine as best she could so she could make a return to the Olympics and win a bronze medal for Team USA.

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