Simone Biles is sharing more on her experience at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after making headlines for withdrawing from the competition this past summer. In a new cover story interview for New York Magazine’s The Cut, the world champion gymnast revealed exactly what she was processing at the time.
“If you looked at everything I’ve gone through for the past seven years, I should have never made another Olympic team,” Biles said. “I should have quit way before Tokyo, when Larry Nassar was in the media for two years. It was too much. But I was not going to let him take something I’ve worked for since I was 6 years old. I wasn’t going to let him take that joy away from me. So I pushed past that for as long as my mind and my body would let me.”
During her interview with The Cut, Biles also further explained her experience with the twisties, another factor that led to her sitting out of the Olympic competition.
“Say up until you’re 30 years old, you have your complete eyesight,” Biles said. “One morning, you wake up, you can’t see sh*t, but people tell you to go on and do your daily job as if you still have your eyesight. You’d be lost, wouldn’t you? That’s the only thing I can relate it to. I have been doing gymnastics for 18 years. I woke up — lost it. How am I supposed to go on with my day?”
She added later, “It’s basically life or death. It’s a miracle I landed on my feet. If that was any other person, they would have gone out on a stretcher. As soon as I landed that vault, I went and told my coach: ‘I cannot continue.’ ”
After her brief hiatus and winning the bronze medal in the balance beam event, the 24-year-old testified in front of The Senate Judiciary Committee. On September 15th, Biles—as well as Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Maggie Nichols—shared traumatizing stories of abuse they suffered at the hands of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and the agency that enabled his behavior.
“This was clear cookie-cutter pedophilia and abuse. And this is important because I told the FBI all of this, and they chose to falsify my report,” said Maroney according to PBS Newshour.
“To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar,” added Biles. “And I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse.”
Watch the video of Simone Biles’ emotional testimony below.