by Virginia De Masi – writer&ballett dancer
MONACO. Waiting for the Tokyo Paralympic Games to begin in few days, we are happy to report the Simone Biles’ story of radical courage and humility that shocked the sporting world as she withdrew from the individual all-around finals at the recent Tokyo Olympics Games. Suddenly, her gesture made her small and defenceless exactly like her friends with various disabilities who will face the mental and physical difficulties inherent their passion for sport from August 24 to September 5 under the concept ‘Share Your Light”. The diminutive, powerful, and seemingly invincible gymnast was human after all. Through the sacrifices and hard work that led her to win 19 Olympic and World Championship medals and ultimately cemented her stake as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, Biles has spent the last few years wowing crowds with her daring routines.
Pulling off moves that were so complex and death-defying, that every time she performed, she risked serious injury, or even death, if things didn’t go according to plan. And in her message to reporters, she addressed her surprising decision: “I have to put my pride aside. I have to do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being. That’s why I decided to take a step back.” Having been placed so high up on the gymnastics pedestal her decision to stop must have been as difficult as some of her intricate moves. But as the saying goes, “pride comes before a fall,” and in Biles’ case, that fall could have been deadly. “At the end of the day, we’re human, too,” she said. “We have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.” Her ability to combat her pride for all the world to see is just as impressive as her athletic skills.
And no doubt the multi-championship winner will continue to lean on her faith as she continues to focus on her mental health. While her fans might be disappointed that they have not seen Biles perform in Tokyo, she has demonstrated her vulnerability and humility, which makes her even more of a champion! Dear followers, I reported this article because I am studying journalism, but I am first of all a teen ballet dancer, together with my twin Ginevra.
I am sure that Ms. Biles will be a good role model for us. We will be open about our mental-health challenges, which began in adolescence, we will stand up, saying no to the pressure, and exposing the ugly truth behind the obsession with winning and fame.