By DALEY JENNINGS
On Nov. 3, Simone Biles was awarded her thirteenth gold medal at the world gymnastics championships, and became the first American and first female in the past 30 years to win a medal in every event of the World Championships. This itself is impressive for someone as young as Biles, 21, but the fact that Biles revealed that she was dealing with kidney stones less than 24 hours before is what makes the accomplishment truly astonishing.
Biles alerted the world of her medical problem via twitter by tweeting a picture of herself in a hospital bed with the caption: “Nothing like a late night ER visit less than 24 hrs before world championships”, then reassured her team and her fans that she would still be competing in the world championship: “The Kidney stone can wait…doing it from my team! I’ll be Gucci girls!”
Biles was not allowed to take any sort of pain medication during the championships because of the rules against athletes using any sort of drugs beforehand. Despite this, she was able to come out on top of her competitors.
“Adrenaline definitely helped, and then on the other hand I tried to set it aside, but then again, it almost becomes normalized, after the couple weeks of training that we had, and I feel like I stated to get used to the pain and learned how to like, tune it out,” said Biles.
Biles was also able to keep a sense of humor about her kidney stones, even going so far as to give them a nickname.
“So we’re calling it the Doha pearl, because it’s quite large, and I don’t think I’ll pass this one, but we’ll see, so I’m calling it the Doha pearl,” said Biles in reference to where the competition took place, on the island Pearl-Qatar, in Doha, Qatar.
Despite being given the new nickname “GOAT”, which means greatest-of-all-time, after the competition by her fans and the media, Biles still laments how she does not feel comfortable with how she competed in the competition, surprisingly having little to do with her kidney stones. Even though Biles managed to rise above her competition, on the floor she made some mistakes that stayed with her.
On the balance beam she fell off when attempting to perform a front flip with a twist, then failing to keep calm while trying to keep her balance on a front spiked somersault. Ironically, this move was called “The Biles”, which was her signature. Luckily for Biles this was the worst of her missteps in routine, some of the lesser mistakes including coming up short for the landing in her vault routine and her foot going slightly outside the line in the floor exercise portion of the competition.
It could be argued that her difficulty with the routine was due to the pain of kidney stones, but Biles has shown that she does not believe that to be the case.
“If it were a challenge for me, I wouldn’t have competed at all, I think it was a matter of concentration,” said Biles.
Biles has shown the humility in realizing that she was less than her usual standard, even going so far as to apologize in a tweet saying: “Sorry to give everyone a heart attack. I apologize. I won’t do it again.”
While the performance was not her best, it was still good enough to manage a gold in women’s all-around, a gold in women’s vault, a silver in women’s uneven bars, a bronze in women’s balance beam, and a gold in women’s floor exercise.
Biles is currently taking well-deserved time off to recover from her kidney stone and to rest before she will return to her training in preparation for the 2019 gymnastic season.