Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 08:00 [IST]

Last Update: Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 02:23 [IST]

Go Simone!

U.S. Olympic gymnast and icon, Simone Biles, adorned with bedazzled goats on her leotards, strut into competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with the pressure of living up to the GOAT acronym: the greatest of all time.  Biles did one vault at the event and then said no more for today. Her abrupt exit from the U.S. team event and uncertainty over the gymnast’s remaining time at the Games put the mental health of athletes under the spotlight.
For Biles, widely regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time and one of the biggest stars at the Tokyo Games, the decision to put her wellbeing first may be a painful decision of her illustrious career but it is definitely the most important of her life. She rightly says that “there is more to life than just gymnastics” and a focus on her well-being was her goal. By stepping back from the gruelling competition and speaking openly about mental health, Biles joins Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, who took a break after she withdrew from the French Open in May. Her decision was met with widespread support from fans and other athletes alike. Biles was honest about the stress she was feeling at the Summer Games.
The most decorated gymnast in World Championships history, Biles is a hero and role model – not because she pushed through her pain for another medal but because she quit to take care of herself. While we can accept a tweaked ankle or hamstring injury, we refuse to acknowledge how difficult it can be to focus mentally and emotionally and still compete at the highest level. And often these athletes rely upon their families and friends to keep them grounded. But the stands are empty this year. They can't look into the audience for support. They can't see a parent's proud face sending a message that everything will be OK.
The immense pressure she must have felt to be perfect is something we, the common folks cannot even imagine. How difficult it must have been to make the decision to step aside with the world – literally – watching. She deserves credit for showcasing such courage.
Athletes are finally starting to put their own well-being before sport. Biles is helping usher in a culture where they don't have to sacrifice their health for medals, championship trophies and our entertainment.
Biles remains the GOAT of U.S. women's gymnastics. She remains an inspiration for all the young girls watching and dreaming of becoming an elite athlete. She is an outstanding athlete, a true role model, and a powerful woman. There is no need to sacrifice one’s emotional or physical well-being for our entertainment or national pride. She's helping young people realize that it's OK to take care of themselves. She's teaching them to prioritize their bodies because mental health and physical health are inextricably linked. Biles has been open about her depression after being sexually abused by team doctor Larry Nassar. She has overcome so much in her young life. Yet those now criticizing her actions exemplify the harsh reality of how stigmatizing issues of mental health are, particularly in the world of athletics.
 She's setting an example of self-love and preservation for them – and it's one that should not be ignored.


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi