Simone Biles has praised a Japanese university for giving her permission to use her gym to train in secret while trying to overcome the mental health issues that led her to withdraw from five Olympic finals.
The 24-year-old took to Twitter to pay tribute to Juntendo University and said she will be “forever grateful” to the staff for letting her use the training center to try and work on her skills away from prying eyes.
Her college tribute comes shortly after it was revealed that the gymnast’s coaches made a desperate appeal to one of her associates in the hours after Biles made the shocking decision to withdraw from the team final as she struggled with a mental block known as the ‘twenties’.
“I will be forever grateful to Juntendo for allowing me to come and train separately to try and regain my skills,” she wrote, before adding her experience in Tokyo: “The Japanese are some of, if not the sweetest people I’ve met.” ever met.’
Opening: Simone Biles has paid tribute to the Japanese university that allowed her to use the gym so she could work out in secret while trying to overcome her mental health problems
Tribute: The 24-year-old gymnast praised Juntendo University on Twitter and thanked the college for allowing her to train at the gym, an hour outside of Tokyo, away from private detectives
Comeback: Biles dropped out of five Olympic finals, but returned for the balance beam competition in which she won a bronze medal — after working on her skills in secret
According to the Wall Street Journal, Juntendo professor Kazuhiro Aoki received a call from Biles’ trainers on Wednesday morning asking if she could use the university’s gym, which is an hour outside of Tokyo.
The gym had already been used by Team USA when they arrived in Japan, before moving to the official Olympic facilities.
“This is a complicated case,” Aoki was told over the phone. “But this is for Biles.”
He revealed to the publication that the gymnast started training at his gym just two hours after the call was made, explaining that staff locked all doors so Biles could be sure no one would see her going through her routines. wrestle.
“She practiced for two hours that day,” the WSJ reports. “Then she came back for three more days. Each time, Aoki said, she was accompanied by her coaches and a medical provider.”
According to the professor, who was able to catch a glimpse of the gymnast at work, Biles looked “like a completely different person” from the gymnast he saw earlier in July, noting that she “frequently got stuck” while practicing. of her skills.
The call from Biles’ coaches came just 12 hours after the gymnast shocked the world by making her team final jump, her first event in the competition, in which she bounced in mid-air and nearly fell to the ground.
Location: Biles shared a disastrous video of herself trying to work through the ‘twisties’ on uneven bars and it’s clear the clip was filmed in her secret training facility
‘Terrible’: The condition makes gymnasts feel like they’re ‘lost in the air’ and it could lead to serious injury – with Biles admitting she was terrified she’d hurt herself
Shortly after the shock foul, Biles stunned spectators and teammates alike when she withdrew from competition altogether, forcing the other three American gymnasts to advance the finals a man-down.
The gymnast – who won five medals in Rio in 2016 – caused furious controversy with her decision, with some praising her for raising awareness of the importance of mental health, while others accusing her of “stopping” and “leaving” her. team.
At the time, her future in the Olympics was very much in the air, and USA Gymnastics revealed that she would be evaluated regularly by psychologists and doctors to determine her eligibility to compete in the other event finals she qualified for: the all-round , floor exercise, uneven bars, jump and beam.
One by one, she withdrew from the events – starting with the all-around, which her teammate Sunisa Lee won in her absence.
A day after the finals took place, Biles hit back at her critics and shared a video of her training her uneven bars routine while revealing the impact the “twisties” had on her skills.
The video is now believed to have been shot at Juntendo University’s training facility where Biles began training while trying to battle her mental health issues.
The Instagram video showed Simone crashing to the ground while trying to get off her uneven bars, which required twisting her body in the air.
Speaking about the struggle with the issue in her videos’ caption, Biles spoke out to those who criticized her decision to pull out of both finals, insisting she didn’t “quit,” while noting that mental health was just as serious as physical health.
Shock: Juntendo University professor Kazuhiro Aoki said Biles’ coaches called him 12 hours after she was knocked out of the team final to ask him to use the university’s gym
Concern: According to Aoki, Biles arrived just one day after making the shocking decision to pull out of the team finals after hampering in mid-air on her vault
Surprise: Biles stunned onlookers as she fiddled with her vault — which is usually one of her strongest happenings — and she later revealed it was the result of the turns
“To anyone who says I’m quitting. I haven’t stopped, my mind and body are just out of sync,” she wrote.
‘As you can see [in the video]. I don’t think you realize how hard this is on hard/competitive surface.
‘I don’t have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health.’
In a second caption, Biles explained that she hadn’t experienced the turns before traveling to Tokyo, and she punched people who suggested she should have removed herself from the competition before it started — insisting that by the time she started to struggling, it was too late for a deputy to replace her.
In the end, Biles withdrew from all but one of her event’s finals and returned to the competition for the final event in the lineup, the balance beam.
During the final, the gymnast put in a solid routine, removing all rotating elements to avoid any risk of the ‘spins’, and she took the bronze medal.
Aoki admitted he was stunned by Biles’ medal win, admitting he had no idea how she managed to “get it done”, wondering, “How could she get out of such a dire situation? move to this one?’
Biles was unable to compete in the beam competition until he received clearance from Team USA’s sports psychologists, who traveled with her to Juntendo University to monitor her training and assess her mental and physical condition.