Simone Biles is a 24-year-old African American artistic gymnast. The 4′ 8″ powerhouse has a combined total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals. Biles is the most decorated American gymnast. She is regarded by many to be the greatest and most dominant gymnast of all time. She has been representing the United States of America since 2012 as a senior international elite athlete. Biles has 5 .1m Followers on Instagram, as small as she is, she is hard to miss. Biles has withdrawn from the team final in Tokyo, the U.S. women’s team of gymnasts won silver, citing that the medal is for her. In an interview, Biles refused to take any credit for the medal by calling it “their” medal meaning her teammates. When asked why she reaffirmed that she had nothing to do with the US team winning that medal. Biles was attempting to shed a light on her talented team members by showing that they are more than capable of winning medals without her.
Simone Biles Withdraws from the Finals
Sports and culture writer Kavitha A. Davidson tweeted, “Simone Biles won nationals w/broken toes in both feet, w/a kidney stone, and has carried the burden of being a face of sexual assault survivors as a national institution failed to support them Half of y’all yelling about “toughness” can’t handle wearing a mask in Wegman’s…”
Biles under criticism
Biles has come under criticism for her withdrawal. She made it clear that her mental health was failing her and that it prevented her from performing at her level best. Even after confessing that she was unwell, legions of people began to tweet, post, and comment about how she failed her team and the nation. Insults of all kinds including racial epithets were hurled her way as a result of prioritizing her mental health. Some Americans believe she cost the nation the Gold medal by dropping out.
Simone Biles: The Defending Champion
Biles performs such difficult stunts that some are named after her while others have only ever been performed by her in the history of the sport. Due to this, Olympic judges saw fit to give her fewer stars or points for her performances in a collective effort to discourage other female gymnasts from attempting them. Without her mental focus, these dangerous stunts could cripple or even kill the gymnast.
Biles has recently become the face of tens of gymnasts who were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar. She is the only survivor of Larry Nassar to compete in this year’s Olympics. Biles has been quoted as saying, “I feel like if there weren’t a remaining survivor in the sport, they would’ve just brushed it to the side. But since I’m still here, and I have quite a social media presence and platform, they have to do something.”
Simone Biles: Mental Health Check
Biles has remained on the sidelines cheering her teammates on. It is unclear whether or not the Texan will compete in Thursday’s individual all-around competition as the defending champion. Olympians Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka have helped to redefine the importance of mental health among Black American Women.