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Irish Gymnast Rhys McClenaghan Expertly Explains Simon Biles's Twisties

Irish Gymnast Rhys McClenaghan Expertly Explains Simon Biles's Twisties
John Dodge
By John Dodge
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Rhys McClenaghan has been posting entertainment and informative videos to his YouTube channel during his entire Olympic campaign.  The videos are usually light in nature with McClenaghan giving a backstage pass to life in the Olympic Village and his training regime. He clearly knows how to vlog and even went viral with his take on the cardboard beds. His latest video includes more of that Olympic Village feel including footage of Team Ireland welcoming home gold medal winners Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan.

At 4m40 into the video though, he gets a little more serious as he talks about Simone Biles's decision to pull out of the team event (and subsequent individual events).

McClenaghan claims, probably with justification, that only gymnasts can understand what Biles is going through as she suffers from what she called the "twisties". He explains:

When you're twisting in a somersault, sometimes your brain just malfunctions and you get lost in the air. You literally don't know where you are, how many twists you've done, how many twists you still have to do... That is such a scary feeling. With the "twisties" comes a huge amount of anxiety

He shares clips from his own career of when he "forgot how to do gymnastics".

In both of those clips I landed safely, thankfully. It can be a completely different story if you're doing a double pike somersault off the vault, which Simone is doing.


He commends her decision and hopes it her stress levels can be reduced as a result of taking a step up back. It's clear how much he respects the "greatest of all time" throughout the video.

He ends the segment hoping that the decision of Biles has shone a light on a problem that faces a lot of gymnasts and perhaps her actions will lead to further research into the issue. The whole video is certainly worth watching but hearing a gymnast's first hand take on the "twisties" is illuminating.

Thanks to Rhys for sharing his insight and of course, we wish him all the best for his pommel horse final on Sunday.


On her instagram story feed, Biles gave her own insight into how the twisties have affected her own preparations for these Olympics.

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