Gymnastics is my favorite Olympic sport, which has been made evident in the news. One of the biggest stories to date is that Simone Biles had to withdraw from the competition after getting injured – hopefully, she’ll heal up soon!
Who is Simone Biles?
Simone is a very successful Olympic swimmer. She has won four gold medals and 18 other gold medals at different world championships. She was so close to achieving the most decorated gymnast in history, but she didn’t end up getting it. When I watched the team final, I saw that the United States was going to win. There were previews of both the all-around and team finals. But when the Olympics started, Simone wasn’t her usual self. Although this student’s qualifications were weak, she still managed to gain a high all-around score. After the premiere of the third season of her show, she said on Instagram that she felt like lifted a weight off her shoulders.
Raisman’s score of 13.7 at the Olympics was her lowest ever. The woman exited the arena right away and later talked to her teammates. We then learned she had withdrawn from the final due to a “medical issue.”
That medical issue we thought was physical; turned out to be mental health. Simone was honest when she said that she wasn’t feeling like herself and couldn’t continue. She had an anxiety attack before the competition; she said she’s never felt like that before.
The news has received both positive and negative attention. However, this was just the change Serena Williams needed, and many others in the sports industry came to support her in what she did. But many people criticized her for being a “quitter” and letting her team down. The funny part is, some people seem to think that famous athletes are immune to mental health problems.
Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. Simone struggled with depression and anxiety due to the abuse she endured from Larry Nassar while she was growing up. Trying to balance on top of being the most recognized gymnast in the world was probably tough for her. It’s no wonder she was struggling.
I had quite a tough time dealing with my mental health during my childhood & teenage years, which would have made carrying on difficult even if I weren’t so good in practice. When it got to competitions or such, I would get incredibly anxious and always. Once I was 13, I moved house, which left me with some social anxiety and not a good place to build a new, lasting relationship. In sports acrobatics – the bond you share with your partner is very important. I also struggled with anorexia when I was your age. It can be difficult when you don’t have anything in your stomach, making gymnastics a real challenge. There was a lot of stigma surrounding mental health then, but that has changed in recent years. We now know it is important to talk about our mental well-being and treat it with the same importance we give our physical health.
When rooting for figures like Simone Biles, we want to believe that they’re invincible. Sure enough, when problems are known and have demonstrated to be manageable, the logical assumption is to keep going with your life as planned. But mental illness can come and go at random times without warning – sometimes it’s manageable and other times not so much. Maybe she felt well enough before the Games started. I was signed off work last year, and I initially resisted it because I wanted to work. It would have been tough for my team if I’d been too ill to come in, so I tried my best. I didn’t want to continue working. It made me so stressed that it started to impact my mental health, and I couldn’t take it anymore. The dangerous stunts in my job also affected my mental health negatively, so I knew that I had to stop performing them.
I don’t understand what differentiates the athlete from the writer. Why is it OK for people to ignore what their heads & bodies are telling them and risk themselves in this way? We should applaud Simone for taking a step back and saying, “I’m not safe to continue.” World-famous athletes are people too, and we should always show them understanding when they struggle with mental health.