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Olympic round-up: Covid tests, Biles’s “twisties” and some SA medals

A very different Olympics Games is taking place in Tokyo right now, with very few fans allowed to watch the events live, and daily Covid tests for athletes. But there’s still plenty of action on the field, track, court and in the pool. 

At the time of writing, Team SA had won two medals, both in the water: surfer Bianca Buitendag took silver in the waves and Tatjana Schoenmaker picked up silver in the pool during the 100m final. We’ll keep setting our alarms for stupid o’clock in the next few days to support our athletes as they go for gold, silver or bronze. 🥇

Probably the biggest story of the week is legendary US gymnast Simone Biles withdrawing from the women’s team final and the all-around final. She withdrew from the team event on Tuesday after suffering from “twisties”, described by The Guardian as ” a word for a mental block in which gymnasts lose their spatial awareness in the middle of complex skills”. Biles has been roundly hailed for trusting her gut; after all, while it’s got a cute name, “twisties” can lead to a gymnast being seriously injured while performing absurdly athletic and often dangerous moves. Her decision highlighted once again that athletes must take their mental health as seriously as they do their physical condition, and it’s a good reminder for us all: if Simone Biles, arguably the greatest gymnast of the modern era, can take a step back and give herself time to grapple with her mental health, you can too. 🌸

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 29 July 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.