Simone Biles made history again
During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Simone Biles stunned the world when she announced that she was dropping out of the team due to medical concerns.
When people found out that her primary decision to withdraw was based on her mental wellness (and not a physical injury), there were mixed reactions. There were the "She is so strong for making this decision" group, and the "She's not mentally tough enough for this" group.
Here's what I have to say to those who think she wasn't "tough enough."
1. Simone already proved herself to be the greatest of all time. She didn't just win gold medals - she broke records and made history at twenty years old. Most of us at twenty years old were underage drinking at frat parties.
3. Simone was not Team USA; she was a part of Team USA. During her press conference, she pointed out that she didn't want to risk the gold for her team. Afterward, she was shown on the floor coaching her teammates, asking them what they needed, and being their number one cheerleader from the sidelines.
4. Simone was meant to be a leader, not just a top performer. The inconceivable amount of pressure on her to perform again (even though she already proved herself to be the G.O.A.T.) can break anyone no matter how mentally tough they are. It's called being human.
5. Simone listened to her body and protected herself. Her stunts were incredibly dangerous. Over the last few weeks, she was shown falling or struggling with her landings. If she just "pushed through," she could have seriously or fatally injured herself. Her body was giving her the signs that she needed to stop. Choosing to listen to her body and making the tough decision to not compete was more difficult than choosing to push through to get another medal.
For a twenty-four year old to reach such maturity and grace at a young age is a rarity. She has been through unimaginable obstacles in her young life, and yet still managed to be the best in the world. She has already proven herself and no one can compare their experience to what she was going through.
Repeat after me: Simone Biles doesn't owe anyone a goddamn thing.
And yet, Simone gave us all a gift. Simone made history again during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics because her choice to protect herself will create a positive ripple effect across the world. Simone normalized mental wellness for women, people of color, and high-performers.
She was not a quitter or a disappointment. Simone was the leader we've been waiting for.