Simone Biles explained how her mind and body were "simply not in sync" as she discussed her withdrawal from the team and all-around gymnastics finals at the Tokyo Olympics.
The four-time gold medallist from Rio registered the lowest score of the first rotation in Tuesday's team event before leaving the arena. After returning, it was announced she would not be involved in the remainder of the competition.
Biles used her Instagram account to provide further details on her mental health on Friday, as she attempted to describe the different aspects that go into performing at the highest level when dealing with a mental block.
"For anyone saying I quit, I didn't quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync as you can see here," Biles wrote on her story. "I don't think you realise how dangerous this is on a hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health.
"It's honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind [and] body in sync.
"Literally cannot tell up from down. It's the craziest feeling ever, not having an inch of control over your body."
Biles initially accompanied her question-and-answer session with two videos, which she subsequently deleted, that showed her failing to perform her double twisting somersault dismount off uneven bars during training.
The multiple world champion, who said she had been practicing at an unspecified location in Tokyo, explained her struggles relating specifically around twisting.
"Sometimes I can't even fathom twisting," she continued. "I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist. Strangest and weirdest thing as well as feeling.
"What’s even scarier is since I have no idea where I am in the air, I have no idea how I'm going to land or what I’m going to land on – head/hands/feet back."
the outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 29, 2021
The 24-year-old has qualified for the four individual finals in Tokyo, with the vault and uneven bars taking place on Sunday, although her participation remains in doubt.
Fellow American athlete Jeff Henderson, who won gold in the long jump at Rio five years ago, insisted mental blocks are not a new phenomenon within professional sport, while also expressing his pride in Biles for speaking so openly about her situation.
"Almost every athlete [has these problems]. They just don’t speak on it," Henderson told Stats Perform.
"Every athlete goes through a mental breakdown or [has to] figure out their brain, what to do, over-thinking - that’s every athlete.
"I think it should be awareness for every athlete to have that issue because it’s a huge thing to be protective of. If you’re not protective of your mental [state], you’re not going to do anything physical.
"There's nothing wrong with that. Any athlete would say take your time, relax, get your mental right come back when you’re going to be ready. Every athlete would say that."