Women Who Inspire Us: Simone Biles Impact on Sports and Mental Health

Growing up, I always looked forward to watching the Olympics with my family, specifically the women’s gymnastic team. When I was really young, I did gymnastics for a couple of years and enjoyed it. However, I ultimately decided it was just not for me.

I was still able to appreciate the athleticism it took and admire those who did excel in the sport. The first woman I really remember seeing have a big impact on women’s gymnastics was Simone Biles in the 2012 Olympics. She is now tied for the most decorated gymnast of all time with a total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals. Although she is a successful athlete, she faced many obstacles and criticism during her time as one of the most popular athletes in the world.

In 2018, Biles and many of her fellow teammates came forward to address and testify against the sexual abuse they faced by USA Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar. Biles first shared her story on Twitter during the height of the #MeToo movement. She received support from her fellow teammates as well as many of her fans. The sharing of her experiences was and continues to be a big inspiration to others around the globe.

As the Olympics rolled around last summer, many were excited to see Biles take the mat again, and were confident she would bring back the gold medal.

Unfortunately, she was unable to compete due to a mental health issue. Through her bravery to stand up for her own mental health, she showed many Americans that the competitors on their TV screens are people too. People who also deserve to be treated with respect and appreciation rather than judgment and blame.

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I remember being very sad to hear this, but the thing that upset me was a big topic of conversation. I heard many people share their opinions, some believed she made the right decision, while others said that she is a professional and should be able to go out and do her job. I believe this type of thinking is completely disrespectful and insensitive, especially in a time when mental health is being highly advocated for and being more accepted into society.

Not to mention that she is involved in such a risky and dangerous sport. If Biles had decided to compete, she could have been seriously injured or even worse. The pressure that we as a society put on athletes, especially Olympians, is unreasonable. It is simply a sport and at the end of the day. All that should matter is the health and well-being of the athletes.

Simone Biles has been a huge inspiration to not only young gymnasts but also athletes of every other sport. Her success shows the payoff of hard work and dedication. As a female athlete, I believe that she often does not get the recognition she deserves.

During Women’s History Month, I feel that she deserves to be acknowledged and respected.

  • olympics
  • Simone Biles
  • women empowerment
  • Women’s History Month
  • womens history