In Their Own Words: Facebook friends speak out about Simone Biles

In Their Own Words: Facebook friends speak out about Simone Biles
August 04
14:12 2021

The talk of the Olympics has not been the lack of fans or the American men’s basketball team being defeated by France in their opening game. Instead, everyone is talking about the decision gymnast Simone Biles made by dropping out of the team and individual competition at the Olympics to work on her mental health.

There are people on both sides of the issue. Many are praising Biles for prioritizing her mental health over athletic competition, while others are saying she was selfish for leaving her teammates high and dry.

Being a former athlete and someone who has dealt with some mental health issues from the pressure that sports places on you, I can totally understand where Biles is coming from, if that’s the true reason why she chose to drop out. Participating in gymnastics has to take extreme focus, because if you land wrong, you could possibly become paralyzed or worse, so not being mentally focused could be catastrophic. 

I only competed at the collegiate level, so I could never quite understand the amount of pressure that Biles was feeling as an Olympian and probably the greatest gymnast America has ever had. But if I had to question one thing, it would be the timing of it all.

I am going to assume these feelings she had did not come out of left field, so coming into the Olympics, she had an idea that she was not at her best mentally. If that’s the case, then she probably did not need to compete at all. For me, once you step onto the field of play, gym, court, or whatever you compete on, it’s game time. Whatever outside issues I have going on are going to have to take a backseat after I have chosen to compete.

Once again, I don’t know what was swirling through this young lady’s mind. She could also be upset at the fact that she is such a dominating athlete that the judges won’t even score her accurately because it would be dangerous for any of her peers to attempt the same moves. I could only imagine being so great that you are penalized for being so much better than your competitors.

I knew this was a hot topic and I wanted to see how others felt on the issue as well. Here are some of the responses that I received. I was surprised by how differently people looked at this situation.

Lanette King.

I think it’s really sad and disheartening that we are a world of people who have seen and experienced the devastating effects of not taking care of ourselves mentally, yet we encourage medals over mental health. I applaud Simone for choosing herself. That’s a great example of self-love and self-care and we should all follow her lead and know when enough is enough.

Melvin Butler Jr.

If the information is correct about them scoring her differently, I understand her position. At the same time, what does she have to prove? We all know she is the best in the world.

Javon Quick,

Folks say she shouldn’t have competed in the first place if she was dealing with mental issues. Folks say she quit on her team. Here is my response: She was more than ready to compete. You don’t go out under the immense pressure of the Olympics and perform the way she did if you’re not completely prepared and locked in. But, imagine all that hard work, countless hours spent developing and practicing your craft, showcasing technique and skill that no one else can do, just to get to the grandest stage of athletic competition and be told we’re going to score you fairly because it might hurt the feelings of those that didn’t work as hard as you did. That alone is enough to give anybody a mental breakdown. Now folks say she quit on her team; the way I see it, her team quit on her. Without Simone, Team USA took second place, when Team USA sat there and watched the clowns of the Olympic judging committee do that to Simone. Did they go to bat for her? Did they protest for one of their own? I didn’t see where they did.  Now there could have been several legit reasons why they didn’t; I’m anxious to find out what they were, but until I do, I’m not gonna blame Simone for doing what was best for her after these folks gave her their ass to kiss.

Jessica Hilliard,

With my advanced understanding of psychology, whenever an athlete has the self-awareness to recognize that they do not have their “head in the game” and step aside to work on themselves and to avoid hurting the team, you have to recognize their strength. So many athletes do not seek the help and end up pushing through and causing a mental breakdown, only for society and the media to label them as crazy because they felt forced to “toughen up.” Just my two cents.

Edward Jackson.

It’s hard for me to massage feelings when the reasons can be easily rebutted. “Well, she didn’t want to get injured.”  You risk injury even when you’re in your bag or on your game. “Well, it’s mental health and it’s serious.” Yes, mental health is serious, but I seriously doubt this is the case. How do you stay in the environment that overwhelmed you? How can you stay around when your game is off because of it? Hmmm. Something ain’t right there, either. …

Well, Michael Jordan quit and what if the league told him (or Tom Brady as another example of the GOAT) they wasn’t counting his points the same ‘cause he THAT MUCH Greater THAN EVERYBODY ELSE?  Umm, no. He has never walked off on his team and stopped competing in the MIDDLE OF A GAME. In fact … the man could barely walk, breathe, and was sick as a dog (off his game) and took his own illness as a challenge. His adversities didn’t make him want to QUIT ever. …

If they shaved points from Jordan, he would go out there and score double the amount because GOAT or MAMBA MENTALITY would take that as a challenge. Simone DaQuit Biles chose to tuck tail in the midst of adversity. Tom Brady would have cursed out the refs, the commissioner, and his teammates for what the league did to him … lol. And still go out there and win the Superbowl. Remember when the Patriots was down by 28 in the Superbowl and everyone said that it was over.  Brady said F@#& no!!!

Last but definitely not least, this elegant, skillful and dominant skater of our childhood years showed how to deal with sketchy rulings. She too was told about her backflips, yet Surya Bonaly wasn’t having none of it. She continued doing her moves that only she could do. Why people making excuses for Simone DaQuit Biles is beyond me. I mean, I know we have this blind loyalty to our own, but that blind loyalty be distorting the mind.  Again, who celebrates quitting, ESPECIALLY IN SPORTS?

Lloyd Roberson, 

I’m more concerned of what led to it. I truly believe it was the fact they were not going to judge her difficulty scores according to how they been doing. I mean, to my knowledge, she was fine before that. I really believe everything else is a smoke screen. I have literally been stewing in my emotions over this situation and how America and the world let her down.

So much to say concerning this situation, but FB (Facebook) just isn’t the platform to convey all that’s wrong with this situation as a Black people, women, Americans, or even a human being on this earth. And the fact that the rule change isn’t at the top of the leader boards of discussion is mind-bending. Knowing that situation can directly affect your mental health in the magnitude of the manner in which you are to perform is beyond me.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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