U.S. gymnast Simone Biles is thanking the Japanese gym that secretly allowed her to practice getting back to basics, after struggles with the "twisties" forced her to withdraw from most of the events at the Olympics.
After a bad vault in the team competition, Biles withdrew and her teammates continued on without her to win silver. She then dropped out of the individual all around and the event finals in vault, uneven bars and floor.
During that time, Biles was quietly traveling about an hour outside of Tokyo to a gym called Junetendo. The Wall Street Journal reports that the day after she dropped out of the team competition, she got to work at Junetendo and the gym accommodated her by locking all the doors to ensure nobody would be peeking in on her.
"I’ll forever be thankful for Junetendo for allowing me to come train separately to try to get my skills back," Biles tweeted Wednesday. "The japanese are some of, if not the sweetest people I’ve ever met."
WSJ reports that during her time off from competing, Biles went to the Junetendo -- filled with soft mats and foam pits for gentle landings -- a total of four times to practice working out the "twisties." That's the sudden inability for a gymnast to make the requisite spins — or sometimes any spins — for a particular maneuver.
Biles even posted videos on Instagram last week -- which she later deleted -- from inside the gym how her dismounts from the uneven bars were not happening as they should and how it could have led to failure -- possibly even injury on a hard mat.
It paid off, at least enough for Biles to come back on Tuesday to win the bronze on balance beam. Biles changed her routine a bit while dealing with a mental block surrounding twisting. She used a double-pike dismount — no twisting required — to score a 14.000, which was ultimately good enough for third in the eight-woman final, behind China's Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing.
Including the team silver, Biles now has seven career Olympic medals. She's tied with Shannon Miller for the most in U.S. gymnastics history.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.