We are certain most of you had spent your summer watching the Olympics and have heard of what happened to Simone Biles. In this article, we will be talking about what a true inspirational athlete Simone Biles is and what we can learn from her.
Who is Simone Biles and what are her achievements?
Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast, with more than 2 dozen Olympic and world champion medals to her name. She has discovered and demonstrated her abilities as a talented gymnast at a very young age. She began competing as a level 8 gymnast in 2007, started her junior elite level in gymnastics in 2013 and won her first U.S. and world all-around titles soon after. In 2015, she claimed her third world all-around title and went on to lead the U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team. Then, Biles went on to grab her sixth U.S. all-around title in 2019, and set another record by winning her 25th World Championship medal that fall.
What happened to Simone Biles during the 2020 Olympic Games?
Simone Biles decided to withdraw from most of her events at the Tokyo Olympics because of mental health issues. She had “to do what’s right for [her] and focus on [her] mental health." and had mentioned “My mental and physical health is above all medals that I could ever win”. which is such an inspiration to those struggling with mental health. The world’s greatest gymnast used sport’s brightest stage to spread the message of the importance and value of mental health. In the end, she learned more about herself from pulling out of the events than she would have by winning.
The effect she has by prioritizing her mental health rather than olympic competitions are quantifiable. Google searches about mental health reached their highest in two months the day Biles dropped out of the team competition at the Olympics. She has shown that the value of helping remove the stigma of mental illness is more impactful than medals around her neck will ever be. This huge move that Simone Biles has made in her career as a full time gymnast has touched lots of people and made them realise taking care of and prioritizing their mental health is most important.
Some of Simone Biles’s most powerful quotes about mental health
Regarding the pressure she has from the Olympics:
“We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day, we’re human too. So, we have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.”
Dealing with loss and grieving:
"Two days ago, I woke up and my aunt unexpectedly passed, and it wasn't any easier being here at the Olympic Games. At the end of the day, people don't understand what we are going through."
"What I've been through, I've just always fought through it, and it's just been really hard. We have triggers and unfortunately, I had one of my biggest ones here. But to come out and come back with a bronze medal, it means the world to end the Olympics like this."
“It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync. 10/10 do not recommend," Biles wrote in an Instagram post where she wrote the details of her struggles in life. She also mentioned she has developed ‘twisties” which mean her brain and her body movements were not in sync, causing her to lose track of where she is in the air.
“We're not talking about anything crazy. We're just speaking up for what we believe in and trying to have the wrongs be righted. It’s things that should have happened years ago."
Prioritize mental health:
"For a while, I saw a psychologist once every two weeks. That helped me get in tune with myself so that I felt more comfortable and less anxious.”
Stigma surrounding therapy:
“One of the very first therapy sessions, I didn’t talk at all. I just wouldn’t say anything. I was like, ‘I’m not crazy. I don’t need to be here.’ I thought I could figure it out on my own, but that’s sometimes not the case. And that’s not something you should feel guilty or ashamed of. Once I got over that fact, I actually enjoyed it and looked forward to going to therapy. It’s a safe space.”
“At one point I slept so much because, for me, it was the closest thing to death without harming myself. It was an escape from all of my thoughts, from the world, from what I was dealing with. It was a really dark time.
How did Simone Biles deal with the hate she got from calling her a “quitter”?
Of course, for every message of love and support she gets from people that understand her struggle and her inspiring decision, there were equal numbers of people who called her a ‘quitter”. However, these messages did not get to Simone Biles. For now, they’re not ready, not brave enough to stand up and say “I’m struggling,” and protect themselves the way Simone Biles did. This has taught us to never listen to the haters as they are just not as brave as you to stand up for themselves and do what they think is the right decision for them. No one knows yourself better than you and never let anyone’s opinions change that.
Did Simone Biles continue any competition in this year's Olympic Games?
She joined and competed for the team final and balance team. She even ended her Tokyo Olympics run with a silver medal for the team final and a bronze in the balance beam, which put her medal tally at seven -- tying the record for the most Olympic medals by an American female gymnast.
Simone Biles is not only a talented gymnast who makes millions of people proud of her achievements in the gymnastics field, but also someone who is worth learning from. After what happened at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she has told the whole world that life isn’t just about celebrating your successes, but being open and honest with your struggles — because none of us are alone, even if it feels that way. Simone Biles learned that when she opened up in Tokyo, and the same goes for everyone else. Here we also want to say congratulations to Simone Biles, not just for winning bronze, but telling the world it’s okay to not be okay and being a truly inspiring role model for the rest of the world.