There isn’t much that can stop Simone Biles, not even a kidney stone.
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The 21-year-old spent the hours before the FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Doha, Qatar in the emergency room and found out that she has a kidney stone. With the competition in less than 24 hours, she decided to forgo treatment to get the championships out of the way first. She posted a photo of herself in the hospital telling her fans that “this kidney stone can wait.”
She later elaborated on the pain that sent her to the hospital in interviews with media.
“We had to go to the ER because I’ve been having stomach pains on my right side for two days, and we started to think it was my appendix, so we just wanted to go as a precautionary, and then we got tests done just to see what it was, and then they found a kidney stone,” she told USA Gymnastics. “Even when I’m walking or doing some stretches, I’m in a bit of pain, so adrenaline helps.”
A kidney stone, for the record, is a hard deposit of minerals and acid salts, often caused by a lack of water, that when passing through the system, can be extremely painful. They are often small, but according to Medical News Today, have been capable of growing up the size of a golf ball.
Biles named hers the “Doha Pearl” because “it’s quite large and I don’t think I’ll pass this one, but we’ll see.” Despite the name, the emergency room visit, and lack of medication she could take for her condition (gymnastics doping rules), she left the hospital and decided to take care of the stone after the world championships.
After some rest and feeling like her pain wasn’t too terrible, she got to work during the women’s qualifying segment on Saturday.
“I was like: ‘OK if the pain stays like this all day I think I’ll be good to compete, like I can deal with this, I’ve had worse pains than this before,’” she said.
“I also hear rollercoasters might help kidney stones,” she added “And I’m like ‘Well, I’m basically like my own little rollercoaster out there.’”
The good news is, Biles ended up qualifying for every final at the event, and she could end up making history if she wins all six event medals at this particular event. She specifically qualified first in the all-around, floor exercise, vault and balance beam, and had the second highest score for the uneven bars, according to USA Today. She also, with the American squad, qualified in first place for the team competition. If that wasn’t enough, she aced “a difficult new vault” on Saturday that will be named after her, according to Team USA.org:
Also, her individual score of 60.965 (4.5 more than the individual who placed second) on Saturday was her highest since returning to competition.
Biles and the American team compete next on Tuesday for the team final. She will take part in the women’s all-around final and the apparatus finals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Let’s hope the “Doha Pearl” will not cause her any greater pain as she preps and competes for the next few days. Either way though, she’s handling it like the great she is.
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