Biles withdraws from gymnastics final to protect team, self

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ASPartOfMe
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27 Jul 2021, 5:05 pm

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Simone Biles arrived in Tokyo as the star of the U.S. Olympic movement and perhaps the Games themselves. She convinced herself she was prepared for the pressure. That she was ready to carry the burden of outsized expectations.

Only, as the women’s gymnastics team final approached on Tuesday night, something felt off. And the athlete widely considered the Greatest of All Time in her sport knew it.

So rather than push through the doubts that crept into her head as she’s done so many times in the past, Biles decided enough was enough. She was done. For now.

The American star withdrew from the competition following one rotation, opening the door for the team of Russian athletes to win gold for the first time in nearly three decades.

Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum guided the U.S. to silver while Biles cheered from the sideline in a white sweatsuit, at peace with a decision that revealed a shift not only in Biles but perhaps the sport she’s redefined.

“We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day we’re human, too,” Biles said. “So, we have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.”

I guess this proves that even one of the world's greatest athletes has a limited amount of spoons.


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kraftiekortie
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28 Jul 2021, 6:47 pm

She’s been doing this for years. She’s burnt out. Gymnastics is an extremely rough sport.



IsabellaLinton
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28 Jul 2021, 6:56 pm

The weather conditions and Covid restrictions in Tokyo are insane. Athletes have said they aren't allowed to discuss how bad it is.

I'd be leaving too, if it became intolerable to my mental health. I'm sure this has nothing to do with her devotion to gymnastics.



cyberdad
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28 Jul 2021, 7:27 pm

Very similar to Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, Elite sports stars can burn themselves out.



ASPartOfMe
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28 Jul 2021, 7:59 pm

The Olympics create pressure like nothing else in sports. No next game, no wait until next year. You sacrifice like crazy for 4 years for something that will last a few minutes. If you make a slight mistake and blow it you don't get another opportunity for another 4 years when often by then it's too late because there are better younger athletes.

Gymnastics is the summer Olympics signature event adding more pressure. You just can't release that energy you get from finally doing what you have been sacrificing all these years by being purely physical like hitting somebody, you got to think through every move with not even a second until the next move.

And you had pandemic stuff, the cancellation, the extra year wait, the uncertainty of maybe another cancellation, and no crowds.


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naturalplastic
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30 Jul 2021, 3:15 am



GGPViper
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30 Jul 2021, 4:33 am

Simone Biles is 24.

That's actually close to the average retirement age for elite female gymnasts.

And given all her records and medals, Biles has probably pushed her body a lot further than her peers.

That's why I have always been ambivalent about elite gymnastics. It's truly impressive to see what they can do... But they burn out 10 years *faster* than ballet dancers (! !!)... And they will sometimes have to deal with hip and knee injuries for the rest of their lives.



cyberdad
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30 Jul 2021, 4:46 am

I thought she has mental health issues? not physical



ASPartOfMe
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30 Jul 2021, 11:45 am

I was very remiss in not mentioning the stress of being sexually abused by the team doctor and all the stresses involved with her going public about it. Not to mention it was inexcusable on my part. I apologize.


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cyberdad
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31 Jul 2021, 3:20 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
I was very remiss in not mentioning the stress of being sexually abused by the team doctor and all the stresses involved with her going public about it. Not to mention it was inexcusable on my part. I apologize.


Let's not forget the hate she gets from racists who are crawling out of the woodwork.


The right wing seem to love attacking champion black athletes whenever the opportunity arises



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31 Jul 2021, 8:10 am

It would be interesting to know how much of an effect this had on her preparation for the Olympics, and whether it contributed to her decision to withdraw:

Quote:
Tevin Biles-Thomas, the brother of the Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles, was acquitted of murder charges this week, less than a month after a Cleveland judge declared a mistrial in his case.

Mr. Biles-Thomas, 26, was charged in the fatal shooting of three people at a New Year’s Eve party in Cleveland in 2018. On Tuesday, Judge Joan Synenberg of Common Pleas Court in Cuyahoga County acquitted him, court records show, granting a motion filed by Mr. Biles-Thomas’s defense lawyers arguing that prosecutors had failed to provide enough evidence to justify a guilty verdict.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/16/us/simone-biles-brother-acquitted.html


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01 Aug 2021, 4:21 pm

Something else to consider besides just "burnout".

The things she's doing are highly technical. They require intense concentration and precision. If you mess them up, you can cripple or kill yourself. They are NOT things you want to risk even attempting if you aren't able to focus properly on what you're doing.

There are real physical risks involved in pressing on if you're not capable of focusing on what you're doing. So it's not just "I don't think I can do this anymore" - it's also, "I could seriously wreck myself if I try", too.



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01 Aug 2021, 4:43 pm

There's confirmation that Biles was using Ritalin to treat ADHD. Japan unfortunately bans the use of Ritalin and Adderal to treat ADHD (they do legally allow it for sleep disorders?).

Japanese law trumps international Olympic laws pertaining to athletes.

Without access to her medication her anxiety was through the roof. The apparent glee that members of certain political persuasion are attacking her are completely unfair and reflect an apparent pretext to claim she's not patriotic because (well we know why).



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01 Aug 2021, 4:47 pm

uncommondenominator wrote:
Something else to consider besides just "burnout".

The things she's doing are highly technical. They require intense concentration and precision. If you mess them up, you can cripple or kill yourself. They are NOT things you want to risk even attempting if you aren't able to focus properly on what you're doing.

There are real physical risks involved in pressing on if you're not capable of focusing on what you're doing. So it's not just "I don't think I can do this anymore" - it's also, "I could seriously wreck myself if I try", too.


This is what I think, too. Being slightly off one's mental game in elite gymnastics sounds quite dangerous in terms of possible physical consequences.


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02 Aug 2021, 2:49 am

Apparently there is phenomenon call the "twisties." The flipping / twisting movements that Simone does require an unusually highly tuned mental and physical connection to know where in the air the body is, so the gymnast can land inappropriately. Sometimes stress or other issues can severe that connection, and that is what apparently happened during the vault that led to her meeting with the doctors. You can actually see that there is a problem watching her land that first team competition vault. Gymnasts have to go back into the basics and rebuild the connection, which can take weeks. She's apparently had the problem before and until it resolves the reality is that she cannot physically do the skills in her routines without high risk for falling on her head or back. Before withdrawing from the individual bars event, she had fallen on her back twice in practice, trying to get her brain and body back in sync.

I am a firm believer in sticking to your commitments, but I also know better than to reach a conclusion on someone without gathering more data. The more I read, the more I realized it would have been impossible for her to successfully compete. She did the right thing not just for herself, but also for the team.

As unfortunate for Simone this turn of events is, it has been a gift for Suni Lee and MyKayla Skinner. They were given an opportunity to truly shine and took full advantage of it.


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02 Aug 2021, 5:41 pm

A Canadian diver who scored a 0 with a feet-first flop with the finals on the line said she wasn't going to give up

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The Canadian diver Pamela Ware experienced a worst-case scenario for any diver at the Tokyo Olympics.

Competing in the women's 3-meter springboard semifinal, Ware had a misstep on her approach that forced her to bail out of her last dive and jump feet-first into the water.

Worse, Ware was competing for the final. One TV announcer noted during Ware's approach that Ware was attempting a dive with a 3.5 difficulty, the most difficult of the competition to that point. The other announcer said, "This dive could be spectacular!"

As Ware left the board, she clearly did not have her rhythm down and instead attempted something akin to a backyard plunge.

Ware discussed the fallout on Instagram, thanking those who offered her support and saying the mistake could have happened to anyone.

"What we do in the competition is just a tiny factor of what we actually do to get to where we are," Ware said in a video. "I was so ready for this competition, and I made a mistake. It could have happened to anybody, but it happened to me at the wrong time."

Ware had placed fourth in the preliminary round. She told reporters after her failed dive that she was still in shock and believed she would have risked injury if she attempted the dive.

"I think that if I would have done the dive, I could have possibly hurt myself," Ware told reporters, per CBC's Christine Rankin.

Ware, 28, said she was proud of her accomplishments to that point and planned on returning to the Olympic stage.

"I have done everything possible to make it to where I am and I'm human, I'm allowed to make mistakes," she said in her Instagram video before pausing. "I hope you guys are going to get used to having me around because I'm not going anywhere, I'm not giving up."


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