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Laurie Hernandez explains why 'twisties' are less of a risk on balance beam

After withdrawing from multiple events at the Tokyo Olympics, Simone Biles will compete in the balance beam final.
/ Source: TODAY

Gymnastics includes multiple events — and some require a lot more twisting than others.

Following news that Simone Biles will compete in the balance beam final at the Tokyo Olympics, former Olympian Laurie Hernandez explained to TODAY's Hoda Kotb why that particular event is probably the "safest" route for someone struggling with the so-called "twisties."

"For starters, it is upright," Hernandez said. "When you are on bars, you are swinging upside down consistently."

The 2016 gold medalist pointed to video of Biles in which "you see her literally getting lost in the air," adding that the phenomenon can happen in the vault and floor events as well.

Simone Biles of the United States in action on the vault.
Simone Biles in action on the vault at the Tokyo Olympics. She fumbled on the landing and later revealed that she'd experienced what gymnasts call the "twisties," also known as getting "lost in the air." DYLAN MARTINEZ / Reuters

And losing spacial awareness while performing a twist isn't just about having a bad performance — it can be incredibly dangerous.

"The Biles is a triple-twisting double-back — if you get lost on that, that is a huge safety hazard," Hernandez said. "So I think beam is probably the safest route in terms of doing skills that don't have too many twists. I'm curious to see what she'll do for her dismount, but I have a feeling she's going to do very well."

USA Gymnastics announced that Biles will compete in Tuesday's balance beam final, days after the star gymnast withdrew from finals for the vault, uneven bars and floor exercise, as well as both the team and individual all-around.

Biles later revealed that she was dealing with the "twisties," also referred to as getting "lost in the air," in which gymnasts lose awareness of where they are in the air midskill, making it difficult to land safely.

But news that she'll be on the beam means that Biles will have one final shot at winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Gymnast MyKayla Skinner, who won a silver medal in the vault after stepping in for Biles, also shed some light on why the balance beam might be the most appealing event to her teammate.

"Beam, you're not really doing much twisting things — it's more just skills," Skinner said Monday on TODAY, adding that the only thing Biles needs to worry about is the dismount. "She's been able to work a double pike and try different things, so I think she's going to go for that. So no twisties for her, hopefully."

Fans are eager to see Biles back in action.

"If Simone says, 'You know what? I’m going out, and I’m competing beam,' it sounds like she is ready," Hernandez said.