A fragile superhero: Simone Biles
It’s so disheartening to see people bashing Simone Biles for making the decision to withdraw from the Olympics competition for her own well being. It’s easy to sit back and throw stones from a distance, especially for those who lack the ability to see the big picture. In addition to making the decision that she felt was best for her—one over which I have no doubt she struggled immensely—Simone put the team first. She also sent an important message to those who struggle with mental health—even superheroes can have fragile moments. And that’s okay.
Knowing that she wasn’t up to doing her best, Simone stepped aside so the team, overall, would fare better. In doing so, she enabled Jade Carey, the alternate who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to stand in the spotlight, to have her moment chasing her dream, in the same way Simone has done. Jordan Chiles stepped up to replace Simone on the balance beam and uneven bars, and Suni Lee on the floor exercises.
In the end, Suni Lee claimed an Olympic Gold Medal, joining the elite ranks of American gymnasts who have earned the top spot in the Women’s All-Around Gymnast competition—including her teammate, Simone Biles.
That she’s the first Asian American to take home this honor is especially poignant when one considers all the recent hate crimes against Asian Americans, misdirected anger by those who lack the capability to distinguish between Asian Americans—many of whose families are multigenerational Americans—and native Chinese. (And, of course, the Chinese general population is not responsible for Covid, either. But I digress.)
On July 29, Suni Lee gave all of us a reason to celebrate the gymnast, her team and the spirit of all Americans—including Asian Americans—who understand that the big picture is so much bigger than one event and one competition.
They remind us that even in these challenging times, we have many reasons to be proud to be Americans.
Thank you, Team USA! We stand with you!