Simon Biles and “Fighting Evil Spirits” at Olympia

DrThe Olympic Gymnastics Team Final has been a great and exciting competition between the two gymnastics superpowers of the past decades. It is clear that a young Russian team beat the United States and – after decades of Soviet dominance in the 1970s and 80s – won Russia’s first Olympic team gold medal.

American gymnasts, who had seemed almost invincible in the past decade, had to change the team after the first machine: Jordan Chiles had to step on the parallel bars and did it brilliantly. Sunisa Lee, who unexpectedly had to hit the ground, contributed the highest rating to this device. But as you would expect, these gymnastics competitions are all about Simone Biles; Also – or maybe even more so – when you’re not doing gymnastics.

Loss of sense of place and time

The 24-year-old, who was chosen as the star of this Olympic Games in advance, decided to abandon the competition after a blackout in the vault. I experienced what other gymnasts also know and what is known in English as “sprains” – of torsion, that is, the rotation of the longitudinal axis: the sudden loss of sense of space and time while the body is in the air. Instead of the advertised two and a half bolts, Biles only showed one and a half bolts and landed uncontrollably on the carpet, fortunately on his feet.

No, Biles said at the press conference that she “just didn’t decide to show a nail and a half,” and laughed at the question. What happened there was “uncharacteristic” for them. Indeed, not least Biles’ ability to bring her position in the air under precise control in every movement, no matter how complex, is what distinguishes her extraordinary acrobatic moves.

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