Simone Biles: Oh, boo-hoo

See also: Sympathy for Simone Biles

Having gone 360 on reactions over the walkout of Simone Biles from what was to be another American gymnastic gold-fest and listening to the attendant commentary that followed her petulant walkout, entitled athletes continue to spin.  Call me Mrs. Grinch, as this reaction is not popular with the cool kids, but I'm fed up.  What was also galling was the commentary from some fellow gymnasts that no one is owed a gold medal.  

Well then, no one is owed an audience, is he?  Or endorsements?  Or celebrity?  And actually, then, what is the point of competition?


YouTube screen grab.

It seems team spirit, character, "never give up," and "just do it," are so yesterday.  What about jilted teammates in the midst of a competition?  What about the teammate who scored out and left Tokyo broken-hearted?

Sure, athletic competition is stressful.  Especially Olympian competition.  But the rewards derived from Olympian medals — especially gold — are Olympian as well.  Photo on a cereal box — check.  Endorsements from athletic brands — check.  Mingling with stars — check.  Coverage in glossy magazines — check.

Young athletes, who have known greatness, and have already earned millions for their athletic superiority, are not the only workers who experience stress.  Perhaps theirs are greater, but they have chosen the stress that comes with great fame. 

What would happen if a medical surgeon walked into the hospital and told his co-workers that he was too nervous to perform the scheduled operation on a dying patient?  Or if an attorney, in the middle of a wrongful death trial, tried to get away with telling the presiding judge to cancel the trial for the day because she wasn't in a good space?  Or a first responder deciding the burning building was too hot to enter because he feared getting burned?  Or an opera singer, fearing a less than stellar performance at the Met, walked off the stage just before being scheduled to sing Puccini's "Nessun Dorma"?  Or in the midst of the COVID shutdowns, all the truckers, food and drugs stock replenishers, and cashiers who were deemed "essential workers" experienced valid anxiety attacks and refused to go to work?

Luckily for the rest of us, none of that occurred.  

The Olympics are still underway.  Surely, as the days unfold, more new stars like Sunisa Lee will emerge, and other personal stories of grit and deprivation will inspire.  To date, an inspiration for pluck and preservation came with the canoeist who smoothed out the end of her boat with a condom, vomited, and then competed.

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