Sunisa Lee’s vault went awry. Simone Biles stepped in to help.

Just as Sunisa Lee lunged toward the vault, her coach could tell something was off. He noticed a slight stumble that led to Lee’s feet landing a bit too far back on the springboard.  

And in a sport defined by tiny margins and split-second decisions, Jess Graba hoped his star pupil would follow her instincts forged by years of training and find a way to land safely. 

Lee was supposed to push off the vault with her hands and complete two twists as she flipped through the air. But with the early mishap, the double twist didn’t go as planned. Lee performed just 1½ twists instead and then “I just put it to my butt,” she said.

Simone Biles saw what happened during Lee’s first performance of the evening and immediately could relate. Lee headed to an arena tunnel to compose herself and figure out her next steps. Biles joined her.

“I’ve been in her shoes,” Biles said. “I’ve done that exact thing. And I know how traumatizing it is, especially on a big stage like this.”

Biles, of course, is referencing her own vault that went wrong during the team final at the Tokyo Olympics. Biles blamed a mental block known as “the twisties,” a disorienting sensation that leaves gymnasts feeling lost in the air.