Simone Biles. By now, you know that the gymnast has pulled out of the team portion and the individual all-around competition at the Olympics. It remains to be seen if she comes back at all.
At first, we were told it was a physical injury that caused her to pull out. Her performance was not what we have come to expect.
It wasn’t, well, perfect.
Later, we learned what was really going on. According to the New York Times, Biles told her teammates that she was not in the right “head space” to continue.
I knew things were not good for Simone Biles early in the Olympics. Her team came in second behind the Russians. She put out on social media that she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders.
“It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it. I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke!”
I could only think about that Michael Phelps HBO documentary, “The Weight of Gold.” In it, Phelps and other Olympic athletes talk about the pressure of training. The pressure of performing. Even if you win, what happens to you next? God forbid, what happens if you lose?
Again, we are reminded about the expectations we place on these athletes. The years of training. These kids are, in many ways, deprived of their youth. Their friends. Their families.
Simone Biles. Michael Phelps. Tom Brady. Each a GOAT. The greatest of all time. Can you imagine living up to that?
I wanted to hear from Michael Phelps on all of this. During NBC’s Olympic coverage, he said it broke his heart to see Simone Biles pull out of the women’s team competition.
Phelps also called it an eye opening experience that could bring more awareness to mental health issues.
“We carry a lot of weight on our shoulders, and it’s challenging, especially when we have the lights on us and all of these expectations that are being thrown on top of us.”
So, now what? Simone Biles gymnastics career is likely over. Her next one begins. Maybe even a more important one. Bringing awareness to mental health.
Simone Biles said it best:
“At the end of the day, we’re human, too. We have to protect our mind and our body rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.”