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Simone Biles Is Stepping Into The Olympic Spotlight Again. She Is Better Prepared For The Pressure

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Simone Biles: AP Image

Spring, Texas – Simone Biles isn’t “cured.” Let’s start there. A cure indicates finality. The ultimate and final victory. If the gymnastics superstar had learned anything in the three years since those odd, unsure days in Tokyo when she prioritized her mental health and personal safety over her chase of additional Olympic gold, it is that the battle to defend oneself never truly ends. Only partially won.

It’s a lesson she learned in front of the entire world in Japan when Biles arrived as the face of the Summer Games only to withdraw from many competitions, including the team final because her body just stopped doing what her brain told it to do.

At that moment, Biles blamed “the twisties.” On the surface, she was correct. However, they emerged from something deeper and more difficult to define.

“She can’t even explain it (and) the doctors she sees probably can’t either,” said Laurent Landi, who has been coaching Biles with his wife Cecile since 2017. “It was a traumatic event that occurred at a horrible moment for her, and she was unable to deal with it. It’s as simple as this. She couldn’t function. “She couldn’t be a gymnast at the time.”

She can now, but the journey to this point — Biles will compete for the first time in 2024 at this weekend’s U.S. Classic — has been rough. It has taken a new perspective, at times a literal mother’s touch, and ongoing attention to work on herself, which she now realizes has no expiration date.

Biles tried to take all of the extra attention before Tokyo in stride. She portrayed a sense of normalcy. It was only a facade. Her pent-up emotions and aggressions eventually drove her to “crack.”

Biles was in therapy before Tokyo but had interrupted treatment before traveling abroad. With millions watching, she went off the floor at the Ariake Gymnastics Center after a misplaced vault in the women’s team final and contacted her family, who had stayed from home in Texas because of COVID-19 restrictions imposed for the games.

Simone Biles: AP Image

Simone Biles Is Stepping Into The Olympic Spotlight Again. She Is Better Prepared For The Pressure

Nellie Biles answered the phone and heard her daughter exclaim through tears, “Mom, I really cannot do this.” “I’m lost; I can’t do this.”

So she didn’t. Biles withdrew from a few finals before returning to win bronze on the balance beam, a medal she considers one of the most meaningful of her career. As terrible and frightening as the experience was, it was necessary because it taught Biles that mental health is something she cannot ignore.

“I couldn’t run away from it, you know,” Biles told The Associated Press. “I just acknowledged it and stated, ‘Hey, this is what I’m going through. This is the assistance that I am going to receive.”

Help has driven Biles back to the top of her sport, with another Olympics on the horizon. Help manifests itself in various ways and often from unexpected locations

Biles is confident she is in a better place this time, thanks partly to weekly Thursday meetings with her therapist, which have become an immovable part of her schedule.

Biles went into a practically empty arena last fall in Antwerp, Belgium, for podium training before the world championships, her first team competition since Tokyo. Something about the scene triggered, as Nellie Biles describes it, “a PTSD moment.” Biles dashed off the floor to gather herself after being triggered by an unexpected event.

There were more tears. Increased anxiety. More calls. More reassurance.

“She almost didn’t go back out there,” Nellie Biles explained.

After being “a little bit hesitant,” Biles pushed through, thanks in part to the decision to meet with her therapist, which she rarely did close to competitions before commencing practice for the U.S. Classic in Chicago last summer

The US women were given the afternoon off, and some went to a chocolate factory. Biles opted to remain behind and FaceTime her therapist instead.

“I know how important it is for me to stay present, mindful and not be too anxious,” she stated. “So yes, we will keep that up.”

There were other home comforts in Belgium. Specifically, her family.

Every day, Nellie Biles went to Simone’s hotel room and braided her daughter’s hair for 30-45 minutes, which was a first.

“My daughter is (27) and I know (she) can braid her hair,” Nellie Biles remarked. “But it’s just that touch and closeness. It is that connectedness. It was just what she needed, and it worked.

The meet concluded in the same way that many others had during Biles’ decade-long reign at the top: with a fistful of medals packed in her suitcase for the return flight home, setting the stage for a potentially momentous Olympic year.

Before Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021, the idea of Olympic history threatened to—and occasionally did—overtake her.

Simone Biles: AP Image

Simone Biles Is Stepping Into The Olympic Spotlight Again. She Is Better Prepared For The Pressure

It does not anymore. Life has, thankfully, gotten in the way.

One year ago, Biles married Jonathan Owens, the current Chicago Bears safety. The two are constructing a home in the Houston suburbs that will be completed (hopefully) in late summer or early fall

In some ways, she resembles many other 20-something brides in Biles’ orbit. For example, former Olympic teammate MyKayla Skinner had a daughter last September. A part of Biles thinks, “That’s what I should be doing.”

Instead, she’s “still flipping out here,” still making her way to the Biles family’s gym, the World Champions Centre, and practicing with other Olympic hopefuls, many of whom are nearly a decade younger and grew up idolizing her.

Why does she keep putting herself through this? Well, that’s the most important issue of all.

“I think everything I’ve been through, I want to push the limits,” she stated. “I want to see how far I can get. I want to see what I’m still capable of so that when I retire from this sport, I can be fully satisfied with my career and say I gave it my best.”

She is well aware of what may happen this summer that the millions captivated by what happened in Tokyo — from the crowds who cheered her on to the social media haters who labeled her a quitter or worse — would tune in to see if she cracks again.

Those closest to Biles believe she is better prepared for whatever may arise

“She knows something like (Tokyo) can happen because it did happen,” Landi stated. “So it’s just like, ‘OK, I’m going to be careful, I’m going to follow the same protocol every time and then I’m going to avoid (the pitfalls)’ and that’s all you can do.”

Is it the last time? She will not say. That is too far ahead. She does not frequently use the phrases “Paris” or “Olympics” in her chats. This may appear to be purposeful, but it is not. It’s just something she does.

“It’s not like I think that ‘Olympics’ is a plague and I’m trying to avoid it or trying not to say it,” she stated. “I just think there are other things I have to get to before that.”

The U.S. Classic, which takes place this weekend in Connecticut, will feature 2020 Olympic champion Sunisa Lee and 2012 Olympic champion Gabby Douglas. The United States Championships are later this month, and the Olympic Trials start in late June.

Simone Biles: AP Image

Simone Biles Is Stepping Into The Olympic Spotlight Again. She Is Better Prepared For The Pressure

One turn, routine, rotation, and encounter at a time. With all of her tools, including her therapist, at the ready.

“I feel very confident with where I’m at mentally and physically, that (Tokyo) is not going to happen again just because we have put in the work,” she stated.

There is also something greater at risk here: a message sent by Biles to others. It’s OK to not be OK. It is acceptable to make yourself vulnerable and to be open and truthful about the process, no matter how messy it becomes.

She says she’s lost track of how many people have told her, “Because of you, I’m getting the proper help that I deserve.”

It can be jarring in certain ways. She never intended to become the face of this movement, but it happened anyway.

If Biles retreats to Tokyo rather than face her troubles full on, those folks may lack the guts to ask for something they desperately need. That’s a blessing from the recent Olympics that far transcends any medal.

“As unfortunate as it (was) … it’s exciting because I know that by speaking out it’s helping other people,” Biles stated. “And that’s what I’ve always wanted to do, inside this sport and outside this sport.”

So, she’ll salute the judges on Saturday and return to the spotlight.

No, she has not been cured. She is better, though, even if she is still a work in progress, as are so many others who found the strength to say “me too” after witnessing the biggest star in the American Olympic movement open up about her troubles with so much at risk

This is the true lesson of Tokyo. It was vital, no matter how difficult it felt at the time.

“It’s good that it happened,” Biles stated. “Because I don’t think I would have got the proper help that I need (without it).”

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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‘Hawaii Five-0’ Fan Favorite And Former UFC Fighter Taylor Wily Dies At 56

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Los Angeles — Taylor Wily, a former sumo wrestler best known for his role as confidential informant Kamekona Tupuola on “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I,” died on Friday, according to a friend and a “Hawaii Five-0” producer. He was 56.

“Hawaii Five-0” executive producer Peter M. Lenkov announced his death to The Associated Press and posted numerous condolences to the actor on Instagram, adding, “I am devastated. “Heartbroken” was the caption for a photo of the two.

Wily

‘Hawaii Five-0’ Fan Favorite And Former UFC Fighter Taylor Wily Dies At 56

KITV 4 in Honolulu was the first to report Taylor’s death on Thursday. Additional data concerning the cause are unknown. Lina Girl Langi, a TV and radio personality, said on the show “Island Life Live” that she broke the news “with a heavy heart,” because Wily was a friend.

Taylor’s longtime friend and partner, Lenkov, uploaded a second post later on Thursday with a video montage of images and clips with him. He commented, “You charmed me into making you a regular on the show and my life.” You were a family member. I’ll miss you every day, brother.”

In an extra statement to the AP, Lenkov said it was difficult to characterize Wily’s “special” qualities and praised the actor’s abilities.

Wily AP News image

‘Hawaii Five-0’ Fan Favorite And Former UFC Fighter Taylor Wily Dies At 56

“Even though a lot of his ‘Hawaii Five-0’ and ‘Magnum’ scenes featured his comedy skills, he was also an incredible dramatic actor,” Lenvok pointed out. “I wrote a script for him a few years ago and hoped to cast him in my next production. I wanted to keep him near, both as a friend and as an artist. I’m devastated that I won’t get the opportunity.

Taylor played Kamekona on “Hawaii Five-0” from 2010 to 2020 and became a fan favorite. He reprised his role in the reboot of “Magnum P.I.” and had a noteworthy performance as a hotel worker in the 2008 comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”

‘Hawaii Five-0’ Fan Favorite And Former UFC Fighter Taylor Wily Dies At 56

Before becoming an actor, Taylor, born Teila Tuli, was a well-known sumo wrestler and UFC 1 competitor. In 1993, he became the first knockout victim in UFC history after opponent Gerard Gordeau’s kick knocked a tooth out of Wily’s mouth, ending the bout in 26 seconds.

Wily is survived by his wife, Halona, and two children.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Yankees Cut González, Demote Marinaccio, Bring Up Bickford And Gómez In Bullpen Revamp

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NEW YORK — After losing consecutive series to AL East rivals Boston and Baltimore, the Yankees rearranged their bullpen, promoting right-handers Phil Bickford and Yoendrys Gómez, releasing left-hander Victor González, and demoting right-hander Ron Marinaccio.

New York’s bullpen pitched 7 2/3 innings in Thursday’s 17-5 loss to the Orioles and six innings in Wednesday’s 7-6 loss. The Yankees’ pitching staff entered Friday’s series opener against Atlanta with a 4.59 ERA in June, up from a major league-best 2.37 in May.

Yankees | AP news Image

Yankees Cut González, Demote Marinaccio, Bring Up Bickford And Gómez In Bullpen Revamp

“A major factor was the numbers game. “We’ve relied heavily on the bullpen the last two days, so we needed some coverage down there,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “And talk about certain things to shake up and pay attention.”

Gleyber Torres, second baseman, was out of the starting lineup after departing Thursday’s game with right groin stiffness. Boone stated that an MRI was negative, and Torres would most likely be available over the weekend.

González was acquired by the New York Mets in December from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for second base prospect Jorbit Vivas and shortstop Trey Sweeney, the 20th overall pick in the 2021 amateur draft. González, 28, had a 3.68 ERA in 27 bullpen appearances, giving up 13 hits in 23 1/3 innings while walking 13 and striking out 11.

The Yankees designated him for assignment after allowing five runs (four earned), three hits, and two walks in his last three starts.

“That was difficult because I’d appreciated Vic. I respect him. “He’s had some success in the league,” Boone stated. “Hard getting him into a good role here, but definitely had some struggles with the strike throwing and not putting guys away a little bit and just felt like this was something over the long haul that we’re probably going to have to address.”

Yankees Cut González, Demote Marinaccio, Bring Up Bickford And Gómez In Bullpen Revamp

Marinaccio, 28, was promoted from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on April 13, demoted on May 10, then recalled on June 9. During his most recent big league appearance, he allowed five runs, four of which were earned, seven hits, and four walks over 6 1/3 innings.

Boone said Marinaccio handled the demotion “like a pro, but he’s not thrilled about it, obviously.”

Bickford, 28, was dismissed by the New York Mets in the final week of spring training and was paid $217,742 in termination money rather than the $900,000 salary he received as part of a non-guaranteed deal in salary arbitration. He signed a minor league contract with the Yankees and went 2-2 with a 2.94 ERA in 22 relief appearances for Scranton, striking out 35 and walking 12 over 27 2/3 innings.

His contract with the Yankees calls for a $1.1 million salary in the majors and $180,000 in the minors.

“Tough on the right guy,” Boone added. “He’ll give you some length.”

Yankees Cut González, Demote Marinaccio, Bring Up Bickford And Gómez In Bullpen Revamp

Gómez, 24, went 2-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 12 starts for the RailRiders, striking out 54 and walking 26 over 46 innings. He made his major league debut in September and has appeared in one game this season, striking out the side in the ninth inning of an 8-0 victory over San Diego on May 24.

“The couple of opportunities he has gotten up here, he’s done a nice job,” Boone stated. “He has a lot of talent. He’s still inexperienced and has had some injuries in his brief career.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Lexi Thompson Shoots 68 To Take 1st-Round Lead At The Women’s PGA Championship

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SAMMAMISH, Washington – Lexi Thompson anticipated a question after shooting a 4-under 68 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Would winning a major title alter her decision to retire from full-time LPGA Tour play?

“I’m just taking things one day at a time. I made the announcement. I’m quite pleased with it,” Thompson stated. “Golf is a crazy game, so I’m not going to look too far ahead.”

Thomson AP Image

Lexi Thompson Shoots 68 To Take 1st-Round Lead At The Women’s PGA Championship

Thompson had six birdies on her way to a one-shot lead over Nelly Korda and Patty Tavatanakit.

Teeing off in the afternoon as temperatures soared into the 80s and dried up Sahalee Country Club, Thompson started strong with three consecutive birdies to begin her round, building on her loss in a playoff at the Meijer LPGA Classic the previous week.

Thompson, 29, who recently announced her retirement after the season, blasted a bogey-free 32 on the front nine, highlighted with a 6-foot birdie on the par-3 ninth. Thompson rallied from a bogey at No. 10 with birdies at Nos. 12 and 14 before another bogey at No. 16.

In June 2019, she won the ShopRite LPGA Classic, her last of 11 LPGA Tour victories. The 68 is her lowest major round since a 67 in the second round of the Women’s PGA at Congressional two years ago.

“My approach shots felt great,” Thompson added. “They felt really good last week, so just trying to simplify things and get in a rhythm with my swing.”

Korda shot 69 in the morning, while Tavatanakit tied it in the afternoon with a bogey-free round.

The top-ranked Korda missed the cut in her past two starts, the U.S. Women’s Open and the Meijer LPGA Classic, after winning six of seven events in a row, beginning with a record-tying five straight wins.

Korda started on the back nine, making four birdies in her first five holes. However, the Douglass fir, red cedar, and hemlock trees of Sahalee sometimes made it difficult for Korda. A double bogey on the par-4 fourth hole brought her back to two under.

“If you try and be aggressive when you’ve hit it offline, it just bites you in the butt,” according to Korda. “Overall, I played fairly well. I took my chances when I could and stayed safe for most of the round.

Korda took an early lead by making a 15-foot putt on the par-3 ninth hole, her final shot.

Thompson AP Image

Lexi Thompson Shoots 68 To Take 1st-Round Lead At The Women’s PGA Championship

Another group of players at two under included Allisen Corpuz, Celine Boutier, Charley Hull, and Leona Maguire. Maguire led this tournament after the third round last year at Baltusrol but shot 74 on the final day to finish four strokes behind the champion, Ruoning Yin.

Playing with Korda, Yin recovered from a slow start by shooting 33 on the second nine to finish 71.

“Fortunately, I hit it quite straight today. Hit several fairways and greens. But it does feel like a course where if you’re out of position, it’s difficult to get back on track,” said Corpuz, who has an outside chance of making the Olympics for the United States if he finishes well this week.

The third major of the year on the LPGA Tour returned to Sahalee, which had previously hosted in 2016. And the tree-lined course demonstrated its complexity.

Lilia Vu, who won last week on her comeback from a back injury, shot 75. Yuka Saso, who won the U.S. Open three weeks ago, hit four straight bogeys on the back nine and finished at 2-over 74. Brooke Henderson, who won in 2016, scored 73.

Lexi Thompson Shoots 68 To Take 1st-Round Lead At The Women’s PGA Championship

Korda got off to a much better start than her previous major, when she shot 80 in the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open three weeks earlier.

Korda’s early run of birdies included three straight between Nos. 13 and 15, and she finished in 33. She advanced to 4 under after birdieing the third hole, her 12th of the day, then dropped two strokes on the fourth.

“This entire golf course is so demanding,” Korda added. “I had to make some pretty good up-and-downs.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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