I woke up early yesterday morning.
Wait. Let me rephrase that.
I woke up earlier than normal yesterday morning. Over a year later, I’m still getting used to the way I’ve shifted my schedule to utilize more of the morning hours for work as opposed to burning the midnight oil. Isn’t that the term?
Anywho, that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
I woke up yesterday. excited. Although I have a strong opinion about whether or not the ‘Lympics should’ve been held this year, I’ve been all in because it’s the ‘Lympics. It’s must see tv especially when that racewalking final comes on.
Ok, let me get back on track.
After conducting my morning routine, I turned on the tv to tune into the gold medal softball game between the US and Japan. And I opened my tablet to log on to NBCOlympics.com (where you can watch all events live) to tune into the women’s gymnastics team finals.
I had settled into my comfortable little nook when I heard the announcer reference Simone Biles’ fall after her vault. Say what now? Well, that’s out of the ordinary for her, I thought. Confident she would shake off the perceived jitters, it wasn’t long before I learned that the situation surrounding Simone was one of concern.
The commentators began to report that she had left the floor with a trainer. Oh no, I said out loud. As they dissected all that went wrong during her vault, I said a little prayer.
Then the shocking news reverberated across the world.
Simone Biles was out of the team competition.
A collective whaaaaaaaaat spread across the globe.
First, it was reported her absence was due to injury. Next, it was reported it was due to her mental health. Good for you, Simone, I yelled out. Then both reasons were reported. One thing was clear, there were very few people at the time who knew for sure why Simone was now on the sidelines in a sweatsuit ready to become the biggest cheerleader in the world for her teammates.
Although I was bummed Simone wasn’t going to compete, I stay tuned in, of course, to see what Team USA was going to do. I watched Simone as she clapped, smiled and encouraged her teammates. I watched Jordan Chiles, Suni Lee and Grace McCollum as they responded to her enthusiasm. I watched a team dig deep to overcome a hurdle none of them expected to face as they fought to secure a silver medal at the ‘Lympics.
The expression on their faces told the story.
When everyone expected them to fold because the best gymnast in the world couldn’t compete, they harnessed that energy and allowed it to propel them forward straight to the medal stand.
The US had already lost the softball game and I had to get ready for a speaking event but what was lurking in the back of my mind was what was Simone going to say about why she pulled herself out of the competition.
We’d soon find out.
Simply put, mentally it wasn’t a good day for her.
And in putting the integrity of the team and herself first, she exited the field confident she had made the right decision.
After reading her statements, I went to Twitter to see what the chatter was about regarding what she shared. Somewhat surprisingly, much of what I encountered was support for Simone from people encompassing various walks of life.
But I knew it was out there.
I knew it was coming.
I knew someone somewhere was readying their hand phalanges to set off on a tirade about how Simone quit on her team, how she used her mental health as an excuse and how if she was a true champion she would’ve sucked it up and pushed through.
I know you who is sitting at home ain’t, yes ain’t, questioning the mental toughness of a woman who has endured sexual abuse at the hands of a man and organization that was supposed to protect her. I know you who is sitting at home ain’t, yes I said ain’t again, questioning the mental fortitude of a woman who has endured the governing body changing the rules of competition so it’ll be fair for others. I know you who is sitting at home ain’t, yeah ain’t again, questioning the mental toughness of a woman who has been an elite athlete since the age of 14. What were you doing at 14? Going to high school, eating square pizza and not being elite, probably. I’d bet money on it.
I know you who is sitting at home ain’t, yeah I ain’t done, questioning the mental fortitude of a woman who has been scrutinized for her body composition. I know you who is sitting at home ain’t, tell me you really ain’t, questioning the mental toughness of a woman who is a six-time Olympic medalist, winner of 25 World Championship medals and has four skills named after her in artistic gymnastics. Lastly, I know you ain’t, ain’t ain’t ain’t ain’t, questioning the mental intrepidity of a black woman, who like many – past and present – have put this country on their backs to carry it over the finish line while the powers that be continue to move the line because we’re too good at what we do.
I. KNOW. YOU. AIN’T.
Before I went to bed last night, I had all kinds of thoughts swirling in my head to drive home the point that Simone Arianne Biles didn’t quit on anybody yesterday. What Simone did was chose not to sacrifice her well-being for others. And ya’ll want to label that quitting? Probably because you don’t have the mental toughness or fortitude to do what she did. In your everyday life. At home. Where you aren’t an elite athlete.
Simone, the Greatest of All Time (arguably across all sports) owes you nothing.
And neither do I.
The fact that you can’t wrap your mind around the fact that she would withdraw from competition because of her mental health rather than run, jump and flip for your entertainment tells us everything we need to know about you and your own mental health. Anyone who “in their mind” would be willing to still sacrifice their physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health in hopes of landing properly after flying through the air despite there being a very high risk of catastrophic injury or death needs to withdraw their hand phalanges and self from Simone’s Internet and conduct some self evaluation.
You have plenty of time to do so.
It’s not like you’re an elite athlete or anything.
12 thoughts on “Simone owes you NOTHING”
All of that!!!!!!! Well done Kassaundra Shanette!!!! #IstandwithSimone❤️
I like it!
“I believe that Simone Biles failed at everything on Earth, and she will be the single handled cause of WWIII”
No, *I* don’t, but I’ve already seen some of this kind of drivel even on here. I went OFF about how the person who was writing it has no idea how dangerous these sports are and that unless you have sucessfully flipped upside down in the air 23 times in a row with a dozen rotations and land on your feet and not your neck. you really have no right to say that Simone’s choice was selfish, destructive, or that she somehow owed you something. One person said that Simone failed the entire country. The entire country failed her and the rest of the ladies when Nassar was allowed to go rampant and no one cared because it was pre “Me Too”.
I don’t know where all this insanity comes from, but people who truly believe there’s something wrong with what Simone Biles did are entitled. They think that an athelete (on any level, this just happens to be the Olympics) owes them specacle and entertainment. They don’t. THEY are owed our respect. We don’t have to watch them, but we should respect they are the best of the best of the best, and before you put that next handful of potato chips in your mouth and use your slimy salt covered fingers to type cruelty toward this poor girl, remember, she’s not judging you because you decided to not go meet your friends cuz that bag of chips was calling you. How ’bout yuo don’t judge her for not wanting to cripple herself for your entertainment.
Sorry…this made me mad… so mad. Earlier and again now.
I’m neither team Simone or team… angry mob. I don’t think it makes her brave to say “no. I cannot.” It makes her self-aware. She didn’t run into a burning building to save a child, she just simply said that she couldn’t get her head in the game and trying was hurting her.
Did I want her to go all the way and smash all the other competators into itty bitty pieces? Yes. Why? Because she truly could. She could just flip right over their heads and around them without even trying.
Do I think she failed her country, her sport, herself, and me for saying “I’d rather not jump wrong and break every important, life-sustaining bone in my body”? NO NO NO NO NO NO and NO!
I am team “America’s Olympic Team are a group of amazingly powerful women who have accomplished more in their young ages than I have in almost twice as long on this planet.” I believe she did what she could, and she just couldn’t safely do it. I am not team Simone (although she’s absolutely one of my favorites). I don’t think that should be a team. Even in the support of her we are taking away her humanity and stripping what she is: a person. She has more strength in her pinky than I do in my whole body, she’s in a level of competition that I could never even fathom. She is literally the best of the best of the best in the world. She is an extremely elite athelete. She is also just a 24 year old woman who is feeling every eye ball that’s on her, and also is well aware that this competition is the end of her career. She wants to love it more than anything else, but she isn’t. Her big hurah is kicking her butt. She’s a kid who is forced with the idea of retirement and “what now?”
I anyone else could handle that pressure – and it’s not just words, they are actually willing to – raise your hand. Then succeed, then judge.
Self-awareness is a component of bravery and courage. Way to lay it out for all those who still don’t seem to understand. They probably never will.
They won’t. IRL I’ve already had 3 people try to start this same conversation with me. Only one had even a minor valid point. They were all saying that she failed her team, she chickened out, let her country down, blah blah blah. None of them have even ever played a sport in their life. 2 have never watched an Olympics, including this one – even clips, they’re not interested in gymnastics. You have no basis for an opinion. Have one if you must, silently, far away from me, preferably in traffic. The third actually knows a little about the sport, and without a thought named like three Olympians that were not OK and still performed under the pressure. Admitted that most of them didn’t do well and took the team into the pot but that at least they TRIED! I simply rolled my eyes. That’s when they said “what about the one girl who did the vault with a broken foot and landed on only one and stuck it? She didn’t give up either and she BROKE HER FOOT! I wanted to argue, but honestly, she did break her foot, and he broke his toe and was in a cast forever, and constantly complaining about how it hurt when he walked on it. He even admitted that he just had to walk from his car into his office or house. Just walking. He couldn’t imagine jumping off a curb with his foot like that let alone landing from “a hundred thousand feet in the air after doing something like fifteen spins and twenty flips!” That is actually very valid. All I could say was “That was different. She knew that was her last performance for the remainder of the Olympics so she had time to worry about her foot. Simone is still going to compete, she just couldn’t do that without getting hurt.” He just said we’ll see. I also realized that he didn’t say she CURRENTLY ruined America’s chances, that she let the world down or any of that stuff – yet. He’s convinced she’ll pull out of the entire Olympics and THEN will have done all that, especially since they already sent one home who he believes could have handled the pressure better. With him, I can’t say he’s wrong. I don’t agree with him for the most part, but I can’t say he’s wrong. He has past knowledge to back him, he has current knowledge which he’s based his opinions on, even if I don’t agree, I can’t just tell him he’s wrong. Yet. If he goes after Simone later with that gibberish then there will be an argument – but right now, he mostly said it because he thinks it WILL happen. And when I pressed about if he thinks that her not doing it makes her destroy America, he just looked at me and said “I read that by some idiot journalist. America does not now or ever need an Olympic medal to be the best country that has ever existed. Whoever says that she’s the downfall of society are morons and that’s not fair to put on one 24 year old’s head. The downfall of America will be all American’s, not one elite athlete. She needs to take care of herself and then CREAM them when she comes back! I laughed because he engaged me in this conversation only to tell me that he knows about gymnastics, and he knows I love Simone Biles. He”s just one of those guys who doesn’t want to admit he likes ice dancing more than speed skating and gymnastics more than the shooting range. He still didn’t admit it, but his knowledge of it is proof and he knew it would be. He just physically can’t say it or his tongue would fall out. So he knew he could only get me to engage if he started talking stupid. I can appreciate that. He wanted to talk to SOMEONE about it,but I’m the only person he knows that knows anythng about the Olympics, so he decided to start by getting my attention that way. It worked and he got to talk about it and I got to hear someone else say that she should take care of herself and come back bigger and stronger than before, but that if she gives up again and leaves the Olympics that she will be a disapppointment to the American team – not the rest of the hokum, just that they sent a perfectly not freaked out teammate home for her, and that she will have let everyone who trained hard enough to get to the Olympics down. That’s actually not a truly unfair statement. There are a set number of spots on the team, one goes home because their score isn’t high enough, and then one just stops performing putting all the pressure on the remaining 4 and that’s not fair in his opinion. I can see his point. He doesn’t agree that Simone Biles is single handedly destroying American, but he also doesn’t think she’s “brave” for bailing out. He also doesn’t think she’s failing because of it. He said that the fact she got there in the first place proves that she’s nearly unable to fail. She may fail to perform “as expected by everyone including herself” but that if she doesn’t, the only thing she has failed at was competing, and that she failed at proving she deserved the spot over the other girl. So at least he gets it. But I was going to go for broke on him LOL
Wholeheartedly agree KSL. She did an monumentally brave thing representing the USA as 1- a person of color and 2- being a woman. Two social constructs that at birth put her in a marginalized place when compared to her peers. She totally leaned in and took the big risk because it was the RIGHT thing for HER. Hands down, she should be the MVP of this years games.
Yes. Yes. Yes. And YES!!! To ALL of this!!! ✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽