Simone Biles sticks the landing

Called ‘a quitter’ because she took time to put her mental health first, Biles has silenced the naysayers.



August 29, 2023 - 3:09 PM

USA’s Simone Biles won a record-breaking eighth national title Saturday. Here she performs on the balance beam during the U.S. Classic gymnastics competition. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

When Simone Biles stuck the landing of her final tumbling pass on Sunday to win a record-breaking eighth national title, she added to her legend by achieving one of the greatest comebacks in U.S. sports.

Gymnasts rarely get second acts, especially at the age of 26. Yet as she so often has, Ms. Biles made the incredible look effortless.

The last time we saw Ms. Biles compete at a major event was the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 when she withdrew from the competition because of a mental health crisis. The backlash was harsh. She was called a quitter and blamed for costing the United States a gold medal. (The team won silver without Ms. Biles.) But she knew and trusted herself enough to stand up to her critics and, without apology, explain: She had the “twisties,” a dangerous condition in gymnastics meaning the brain and the body are not in sync.

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