Simon Biles has thanked the Japanese gym that let her train privately in the lead-up to her bronze medal beam comeback in Tokyo.
The Team USA star was allowed to use the Junetendo University gym after she pulled out of a string of events at the Olympic Games as she struggled with the “twisties” and concentrated on her mental health.
Gymnasts have described the predicament as a mental block where the athlete’s body feels disconnected from their brain and they do not know where they are in the air.
“I could have hurt myself,” said Biles after she pulled out of her first event of the games.
University professor Kazuhiro Aoki got a phone call about 12 hours after Biles removed herself from the team final, asking to use the school’s gym for a “gymnast”, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Biles, 24, took to Twitter to thanks the university for allowing her to secretly use its facilities.
The four-time Olympic gold medal winner reportedly trained there for four days as she tried to regain her confidence and refine her form
Biles pulled out of the all-around individual competition, the vault, the uneven bars and the floor, before returning for the bar, and securing her seventh overall Olympic medal.
“I’ll forever be thankful for Junetendo for allowing me to come train separately to try to get my skills back. The Japanese are some of, if not the sweetest people I’ve ever met,” she tweeted.
Biles’ boyfriend, NFL player Jonathan Owens, expressed his support for the struggling star throughout her time inTokyo.
“Words can’t explain how proud I am of you right now!!” Owens wrote after her bronze medal on Instagram with a smiling photograph of Biles at the Olympics.
Biles received a warm welcome when she arrived back at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, where she was met by more than a hundred fans as well friend and family.