Simon Biles is probably the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport. No gymnast- or athlete- better understand pressure than her. If she says that she is not well enough to compete, that is all we need to know. Those who are criticizing her are revealing their own ignorance on a number of levels. 1) Have they seen what she has accomplished? Is this really the person they want to call a “quitter” or a “disgrace’? 2) Do they know what she has been through to achieve what she has achieved? The sexual abuse and the mistreatment at the hands of USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. 3) Do they understand the sport at all? Are they aware that the problem she is having is one that many gymnasts have had and has sidelined many gynmasts from competition. Simon Biles has nothing to be embarrassed about. Her critics most certainly do.
By Damon Linker
July 28, 2021
The culture war is bad for lots of reasons — but the most decisive one may be that it turns its most passionate soldiers into blithering idiots.
Just look at the response on the populist right to news that gymnast Simone Biles would be bowing out of the women’s team competition at the Olympics, citing mental health concerns, after a poor start. Doing what culture warriors do — treating one woman’s decision as proof positive that THEY are destroying all that his noble and good about America the Exceptional — the right pounced, dubbing her a “quitter” and a “selfish sociopath” who had “brought shame to the country.”
Never mind that long before the opening ceremonies in Tokyo, Biles had proven herself to be arguably the greatest female gymnast of all time, with a combined total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals to her name. If she had retired long before this week, she would still be considered one of the greatest athletes to ever live — and one who had earned more respect and honor, and brought more glory to her country, than 10,000 editors at The Federalist.
So why would so many rabblerousing ideologues cruelly spew venom in the face of a national hero at a moment of rare public vulnerability? Because that’s what the culture war does: It promises to transform every person — as long as he or she can plausibly be assimilated into the ranks of the cultural Enemy — into potential fodder for political gain. A young woman of immense talent who’s taken our breath away and made tens of millions of Americans proud on numerous occasions over the past 10 years? No matter. Now she’s merely emblematic of all the bad things our ideological opponents hope to do to the country.
JULY 27, 2021
I always thought the Olympics was supposed to be about competing, and winning, for your country. As an American, the Olympic Games always felt like a unique opportunity to utterly defeat other countries and prove, again and again, that the USA is the greatest country on earth, and other countries suck.
Apparently, things have changed. For some U.S. athletes, the Olympics has become all about them.
Simone Biles, the best gymnast in the world and the erstwhile star of Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics, abruptly quit on Tuesday after botching a vault. Her unexpected withdrawal from the women’s team gymnastics final left her teammates in the lurch. Some of them had not planned to compete Tuesday, and they ended up losing the gold to Russia — Russia!
At a press conference afterward, Biles cited vague mental health concerns as her reason for pulling out. “I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being,” she said, kicking off a flurry of blue-check tweets about how it’s so important for athletes to take care of their mental health.
Then Biles said this: “This Olympic Games, I wanted it to be for myself when I came in — and I felt like I was still doing it for other people.”
Well, you were supposed to being doing for other people. Specifically, you were supposed to be doing it for your country, for all Americans, not for yourself — or at least not only for yourself.
In fairness, the blame here shouldn’t rest solely on Biles. We as a society have begun conflating mental health and mental toughness, or grit. Public figures are often rewarded for taking care of their “mental health,” even in the absence of any kind of mental illness.
Biles doesn’t suffer from a specific mental illness, at least not that we know of or that’s ever manifested itself before. What she experienced wasn’t that, it was something more common among professional athletes: she got psyched out. She wasn’t mentally tough when she needed to be.
That’s fine. It happens to LeBron James all the time (and when it does, you can tell; he stops trying and lets his team lose).
But instead of being ashamed of that, or apologizing to her teammates and her countrymen, Biles seemed to revel in taking care of her “mental health,” whatever that means.
Contrast this mealy-mouthed talk about mental health from Team USA to what Russian gymnast Angelina Melnikova said after her floor routine sealed the gold for Russia: “I knew that it was depending on me, and I was feeling overwhelming happiness and I knew I did it. I knew I had done my job.”
She knew she did her job. That’s the Olympic spirit.
We Americans know that spirit well. When Kerri Strug won the gold for Team USA at the 1996 Olympics, vaulting on two torn ligaments in her ankle in one of the most memorable Olympic moments ever, she later said she did it for her team, her country, and herself. She knew that in order for her team to win, she had to pull it together, mentally and physically, and do the vault.
What she would become a national hero for her grit, she later told a reporter, just seemed, in her words, “weird.” “To me, it was part of my job to do that vault.”
Meanwhile, Team USA announced that Wednesday would be a “mental rest day” ahead of the all-around women’s gymnastics final on Thursday, the individual competition.
No word yet on whether Biles’s “mental health” will be recovered enough by then for her to compete.
‘What’s Brave About Not Being Brave?’ Buck Sexton and Clay Travis Go After Simone Biles for Withdrawing from Olympics
Jul 27th, 2021
Simone Biles withdrew from the Team Gymnastics event at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, citing a need to focus on her mental health and wellbeing. Her decision drew plenty of support on Twitter, but Clay Travis and Buck Sexton were less sympathetic on their Tuesday radio show.
“We all have emotional and psychological struggles,” Sexton said. “That’s just a constant of being a human being. But what about your teammates?”
Having to continue the event without Biles, Team USA ended up earning a silver medal. Travis asked what the reaction would be if Tom Brady or LeBron James did the same thing, pulling themselves out of a Super Bowl or NBA Finals game because the stress level was too high.
“I feel like LeBron actually, he might do that,” Sexton joked about the NBA superstar who has become a punching bag for conservative pundits.
Speaking to reporters after the event, Biles suggested her decision was a sign of strength. “I say put mental health first because if you don’t then you’re not going to enjoy your sport and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to,” Biles said. “So it’s OK sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself because it shows how strong of a competitor and person that you really are}
“The blue checks have already rallied to Simone Biles’s defense and said ‘oh it’s so brave,’” Travis blasted.
“Why is this brave?” Sexton asked. “What’s brave about not being brave? Cause that’s what we’re talking about here. This is ‘oh you didn’t stand up to the bully?’ So to speak…No I think that’s the not brave move.”
“I think that we have created a generation of athletes that…get influenced by the pressure and the constant drumbeat of interactions on social media, Instagram, Twitter, whatever it might be,” Travis said. “And those apps, I believe, are profoundly unhealthy for most teenagers. A lot of times, you’re listening to people who don’t understand you very well and you allow their perspective on you to overwhelm you psychologically.”
While social media criticism can have a profound impact on a person’s mental health, Biles has been open about other demons she’s fighting. In the recently released Facebook Watch docuseries Simone vs Herself, Biles discusses her dealings with sexual abuse from former Team USA doctor Larry Nassar. In 2018, Nassar received a 40 to 175-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting hundreds of young women and girls. Biles previously stated she takes anxiety medicine and goes to therapy regularly after being abused by Nassar.
“This is without precedent,” Travis continued of Biles’ withdrawal. “I can’t ever remember an elite athlete, calling out of a game and saying the stress and the pressure of the game got to be too much, I couldn’t perform.”
“This feels like the antithesis of what the elite athlete credo —,” Sexton said, before Travis jumped in to finish his thought.
“Would be,” Travis said.
Listen above via, The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show
JULY 27, 2021
U.S. gymnast Simone Biles received global support after she announced Tuesday that she was withdrawing herself from the Olympics gymnastics team final due to mental health reasons.
But not everyone was empathetic toward Biles, who was a heavy favorite to take home multiple gold medals in the Tokyo Olympics.
One, in particular, is a government official from her home state of Texas who voiced his displeasure on Twitter.
Aaron Reitz, a deputy attorney general (not an elected position), quote-tweeted a video of former U.S. Olympian Kerri Strug and her famous landing after performing on the vault in the 1996 games with an injured her ankle.
“Whenever you get in a high-stress situation, you kind of freak out,” Biles said after Team USA took silver in the event with the Russia Olympic Committee winning gold. “I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being.”
On Wednesday, Biles removed herself from Thursday’s individual all-around competition.
Strug was among those embracing Biles for her decision.
“Sending love to you @Simone_Biles,” Strug tweeted out along with a goat emoji meaning “greatest of all time.”
Biles said that she was going through “the twisties” during practice, which contributed to her withdrawing from the team event. While the word may sound innocent enough, getting them as a gymnast could be life-threatening, the Washington Post reported.
“You’re upside down in midair and your brain feels disconnected from your body,” the Post described. “Your limbs that usually control how much you spin have stopped listening, and you feel lost. You hope all the years you’ve spent in this sport will guide your body to a safe landing position.”
Biles explained that she caught a case of the “twisties” after pushing off the vaulting table on Tuesday.
“I had no idea where I was in the air,” Biles said. “I could have hurt myself.”
Reitz ran for a District seat in the Texas House of Representatives in 2020 and lost.
July 30, 2021
The sun didn’t suddenly set in Tokyo. That’s just another world-class athlete throwing shade at Olympian Simone Biles. Former UFC bantamweight and flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is the latest to criticize the gymnast. Having previously won gold himself (2008 Olympics), Cejudo is of the opinion that Biles could use a “kick in the arse.”
Cejudo’s of the opinion that “tough love” could benefit Biles after she withdrew from competition: “I believe Simone Biles pulling out of this thing is like, I think she really needs to check herself. I think there’s time for a little bit of tough love. If she was my sister, this is exactly what I would do,” said Cejudo. “So, I would never say something that I wouldn’t do to my personal family or anything like that. Or even for me, because I do believe sometimes we do need a nice kick in the arse.”
Having taken home a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the Beijing Olympics, Cejudo knows about performing under pressure on the world’s biggest stage: “People say the media created her and you know they put upon this pressure. Not really. They only give you a platform, a limelight. It’s up to you to believe it and to accept it. If you start to think you’re the GOAT and the greatest of all time, then that’s on you,” he said.
“There’s two things that pressure can do. Pressure could either break, or it could make diamonds. Pressure could either bust pipes or it can create and make diamonds. You choose what to do for it, or what to do with it, remember that,” Cejudo added.
A winner in 16 of 18 career MMA fights, Cejudo made clear that he’s rooting for a Biles comeback: “Remember that there’s a reason why you are an Olympic champion. There’s nothing new,” he said. “It’s all in you, you’re going against you, and I hope you can come back from that.”