‘I thought I was going to be banned from America’

Simone Biles said she was afraid to return to the United States after pulling out of a gymnastics final at the Tokyo Olympics while battling “twisties.”

The 27-year-old gymnastics legend – the most decorated athlete the sport has ever seen, with 37 world and Olympic gold medals – has spoken about the enormous pressure she felt at home and abroad. foreigner when she withdrew from the team final at the World Gymnastics Championships. Games in summer 2021.

“America hates me. The world is going to hate me. I can only see what they’re saying on Twitter right now,” she recalled in an interview with the Call Her Daddy podcast, streaming exclusively on “America.” TODAY.” The full podcast is expected to be released on Wednesday.

Biles stunned millions around the world by failing to perform his jumping routine and landing awkwardly. She withdrew from the team final and the individual all-around final, sparking a conversation about mental health and the pressures of elite sports.

Biles explained at the time that “twisties” occur when a gymnast loses spatial awareness in the air and cannot judge when and where to land.

“So, I landed like this and as soon as I land, I’m kind of smiling and like, ‘S—,'” she said in the preview clip.

Biles spoke about the enormous pressure she felt while participating in the Games.Lionel Bonaventure / AFP – Getty Images file

Biles made it through to the balance beam final, winning the bronze medal – a feat she considers the most significant of her distinguished Olympic career.

“If I could have gotten on a plane and gone home, I would have. I thought I was going to be banned from America because that’s what they tell you: ‘Don’t come back if this is not gold.’ Gold or bankruptcy. Don’t come back,” Biles said on the podcast.

It remains unclear whether Biles will participate in the Paris Olympics, which begin in the French capital in 100 days.

But Biles strongly implied that was his goal.

She told “TODAY” last year: “I would say that’s the path I would like to follow, so I wouldn’t mind if you put it in the ‘yes’ section.”

Biles ended a two-year hiatus from elite competition in 2023, returning to win an eighth individual title in the United States before winning a sixth world all-around title a few weeks later.

She is scheduled to compete in the U.S. Classic in Hartford, Connecticut, in May.

The opening ceremony of the Paris Olympic Games will take place on July 26.

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