When Valorie Kondos Field coached the UCLA gymnasts, Tyus Edney walked to the practice.
Edney was the Hero Of 1995, the man who saved UCLA’s offer for what remains his only NCAA basketball championship since 1975. Now Edney was an assistant coach and was amazed at what young women risk.
“Miss Val, you coach the hardest sport,” Edney said. “There’s no one to pass the ball to.”
Freddie Mitchell, the UCLA receiver, also saw the women fly without a net. He noted that when he lost concentration, he often wore a helmet in his chest. When these women lose their concentration, they look for a horrible injury or paralysis or worse.
Kondos Field now lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with her husband Bob Field, the former UCLA defense coordinator. Unlike those who deliver fact-free opinions and are more familiar with Jim Beam as the balance ball, Kondos Field knew exactly what happened when Simone Biles walked away from the team competition at the Olympics.
“They call it the ‘twisties’, but it’s more like the yips, “she said.” It’s a connection between mind and body. If you have the cast in golf, you shake the ball. If it happens in this sport, you could have the worst possible outcome.
‘She’s trying to do a 2½, and it’s a 1½. She was in the air and she had no idea where she was. Luckily she was able to land on her feet. Over the years, she has learned to cover up her feelings, but you could see a death in her eyes.
Kondos Field believes that America should celebrate Biles’ selflessness rather than question her patriotism. If she had insisted on competing in her reduced capacity, if she had extended this glorified chicken game, the American team probably would not have won a medal at all.
As it was, the team won silver and Biles was the main cheerleader.
Kondos Field also said: “It’s not about gymnastics at all.”
On June 21, Tevin Biles-Thomas, Simone’s brother acquitted of three murder charges from a shooting in Cleveland, on New Year’s Eve, 2018. In the courtroom, a victim’s mother had to be restrained from attacking Biles-Thomas and threatening his life. The online barrage was predictable.
“These are the external things,” Kondos Field said. “She always said she liked being in the gym, because it was her safe space, that she could ‘silence all the noise.’ This time it broke down at the walls. People think their opinions are innocent. You could see her starting to unravel over the Olympic trials. ”
That would not be enough for Biles to expand her range of 36 international medals, including 27 gold and four Olympic golds. Those who fall into her world once every four years demand unprecedented heights, unimaginable rotations.
She was the inevitable Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps of these Olympics. She went there, just she and her suit, looking for energy and instead found mocking empty seats.
In so many ways, the vengeance of gravity was what happened.
“I remember Stella Umeh,” Kontos Field said. “She was a Canadian Olympic athlete. It got to the point that she would stop, and she could not let go of the beam. We had another Canadian talk to her about it, but it took about a week.
‘Your body just stops. If Simone comes back in the individual events, I expect it to be on the beam and the bars (she pulls out of the safe and uneven bars on Friday PT). She has a floor exercise with a double back and three turns. She looked down at the floor and came to meet her at 100 km / h. She must have faith to stay in the skill just so she can end up on her feet. ”
A deafening minority celebrated Biles’ return to earth. Even if gymnastics were all Biles did, it would be an unspeakable way for a nation to repay someone who took our colors into orbit.
But Biles and so many others were asked to exchange their souls for an action that could be judged later. Biles and coach Aimee Boorman chose to use their power. They refused to cut cookies or keep them by the coaches at Karolyi Ranch. Three days to Biles reveals that dr. Larry Nassar when she abused her there, USA Gymnastics closed the gym.
“Some people say gymnasts should have more fun,” Kondos Field said. “They do not understand the level of focus. You see (tennis champion) Naomi Osaka says she can not return to the place where she was emotional. But she does not float her body in the air. Unless you feel invincible, you can not compete if you do not have that aggressive confidence.
“And our entertainment is not worth Simone Biles risking her life.”