Simone Biles Is Not A Quitter; She Is The GOAT

Simone Biles Is Not A Quitter; She Is The GOAT

Simone Biles Is Not A Quitter; She Is The GOAT

The Tokyo Olympics are an Olympic disaster. Very few spectators are allowed at venues to amp up the athletes. Ratings for every platform are in the basement, and now Simone Biles may bow out of these games for good. No matter what you think take a step back and let’s look at what happened.

I can’t remember the last time I watched the Olympics. I cannot abide the way they chop everything up and all the athletes have to have a sob story. And, then there are the athletes who have a platform. I don’t care if you want Social Justice or World Peace; shut up and swim or flip or whatever your niche is.

I do appreciate talent and Simone Biles has talent by the bushel basket-full. She is the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) in gymnastics. She pushes the envelope and seemed to have no fear at all. Until…

Until she flubbed an routine (for her) vault and decided to take a step back to work on her mental attitude. She was called a “quitter”. Amber Athey of Spectator World wrote:

Biles’s argument that she could have been injured if she continued to compete makes sense; it could be quite dangerous for her to throw one of her eponymous tricks if she got ‘lost in the air’ — which is how one of the announcers described Biles’s vault attempt. However, the fact that Biles was able to become so mentally unfocused in the first place is quite stunning for an Olympic-caliber athlete, let alone the best gymnast ever.

The timing of Biles’s decision suggests it had something to do with the mistakes she made during the team qualifying round. Biles flew way off the mat during her floor exercise, took a major step off the vault landing strip and bobbled part of her balance beam routine. In sports, mental toughness is key. It is a necessity to be able to recover from errors like this without having a breakdown. Biles, however, has not lost an all-around competition in eight years and emblazoned one of her Olympics leotards with a goat, referencing her ‘GOAT’ status. Is it all that surprising that someone this overconfident — some might say arrogant — would struggle to mentally rebound from a poor performance?

Over-confident and arrogant? Simone Biles is 24 years old. She could have cashed out. She still does the work in the gym every doggone day. Kerry Strug and Dominque Moceanu, both great athletes of their generation, had to leave the sports at age 18 because of injuries. Biles is still killing it and probably will do again, because she has avoided bad injuries.

Shut your pie hole. An Iowa father by the name of Byron Heath wrote a Facebook post on his gymnast daughters’ horror when he showed them Kerry Strugg’s one-legged vault. You can read his full post here. This portion spoke to me:

I’m sure people will say “Kerri Strug was a competitor–she WANTED to push through the injury.” That’s probably true. But since the last Olympics we’ve also learned these athletes were put into positions where they could be systematically abused both emotionally and physically, all while being inundated with “win at all costs” messaging. A teenager under those conditions should have been protected, and told “No medal is worth the risk of permanent injury.” In fact, we now know that Strug’s vault wasn’t even necessary to clinch the gold; the U.S. already had an insurmountable lead.

Kerry Strug should have been told that she was loved for herself, not just for her talent.

Biles was supposed to do a vault with two and a half twists at the Tokyo women’s team gymnastics final. Let’s take a look at the vault:

The female announcer says, “It almost looks like she got lost in the air.” And, that could be very dangerous.

Physics Professor John Eric Goff recently described the physics of one of Simone Biles’ vaults:

On Biles’ latest signature move, the Yurchenko double pike vault, she reaches a top speed of about 15 mph on the runway, hits the trampoline at its very end to achieve maximum lift, touches the vaulting table with her hands for one-sixth of a second and, at the top of her vault, is upside down with her feet 10 feet above the floor.

Her maximum rotational speed is 150 revolutions per minute, or about one-third the rotational speed of helicopter blades. She completes one revolution in 0.4 seconds, roughly the amount of time it takes a Major League Baseball pitcher’s fastball to reach home plate.

“At the top of her vault, she could dunk a basketball with her toes,” Goff said.

Imagine losing your focus with that kind of height and velocity? Imagine the damage she could have done to her body. Dan McLaughlin wrote in National Review:

It was even clearer on the full broadcast that Biles essentially fell prey to aerial disorientation — she lost track, in midair, of where the ground was. You could see it in her eyes when she walked off. Gymnasts, like pilots, can die from that — you land the wrong way, you break your neck. Like a baseball player who suddenly can’t stand in against a pitch, it’s a thing you can’t play through. You might get reoriented in practice, and hopefully Biles will. But she walked off and left the event because she simply could not go on.

And, finally, let’s remember that Simone Biles was abused by Larry Nassar. She came to this Olympics in part to keep awareness of Nassar’s crimes.

So do not drag our precious girl. Simone Biles will probably be back…or she won’t. She’s old enough and experienced enough to understand her body and her head space. Our girl is not a quitter. She is the GOAT. Want to bet Simone Biles is at the gym working through her issues?

Featured Image: Walt Disney Television/ Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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  • Jake says:

    No she is not. While she is darn good but not the GOAT. Perhaps you are not old enough but the greatest gymnast of all time is this woman.

  • JAW3 says:

    I think that the coaching turmoil is taking it’s toll on this young woman. The old coach, Bela Karolyi, was a major hardass and I think a close associated I think of that rapist doctor. She had to be wondering who to trust after that and her confidence was probably eroded by no fault of her own. IMO.

    • Kim Hirsch says:

      You’re correct. Simone Biles was sexually assaulted by the team doctor Larry Nasser.

      • JAW3 says:

        Additionally, her new coaches might have better served her to back away slowly from her most risky moves in acknowledgement of her state mentally and physically.

  • Hate_me says:

    There seem to be two extreme reactions to her decision, and it’s just another sad commentary on how divisive we’ve grown. From what everyone is saying, she’s either a quitter or a hero… neither seems right to me.

    Of course, there is much about her that can be considered heroic. I just don’t believe the idea is fitting in this case. She wasn’t competing at her best, and that probably factored into her decision and mental fatigue. Whether she’s truly the greatest ever or not (I’m with Jake on this), she wasn’t performing at her greatest.

    Technically, she did quit, but it was the smart decision and she shouldn’t be shamed for it.

    Mostly, I just wish NBC would stop talking about it and focus on the girls who are still competing. I’ve seen Bile’s vault replayed a dozen times, but have yet to see a single routine from anyone else replayed.

  • SFC D says:

    Aerial disorientation is no joke. My father-in-law spent most of his life in a wheelchair because of a gymnastics accident, where, as stated above, he lost track of where he was in the air. I hate to see Ms Biles quit. But I think she did the right thing.

    • Toni Williams says:

      SFC D – Too right. Aerial disorientation is not a joke. Flying, sailing, diving, gymnastics are all endeavors where losing spatial orientation can kill or maim you.

      No shame. She is a lion.


  • joecrew says:

    The GOAT manages to get things done regardless of their past history or current conditions under which they compete. They, by intellectual ability, manage to will themselves to do what MUST be done. Simone is very, very good, but this episode shows that she is not the GOAT.

  • GWB says:

    emblazoned one of her Olympics leotards with a goat
    Sorry, but anyone who would actually do this is NOT an actual “greatest of all time.” And that arrogance is exactly why she’s taking the hammering she is about her quitting. And, yes, it’s quitting.

    And, finally, let’s remember that Simone Biles was abused by Larry Nassar.
    And what does that have to do with her decision to walk away during competition? Sorry, but being a victim does not give one moral authority.

    So do not drag our precious girl
    Tough. If she can’t take it, then she’s not really the greatest. She might not be as much of a quitter as some are making her out to be, but she IS quitting.

  • Cameron says:

    Honestly, I don’t care one way or the other. She made a choice and she carried it out. Frankly, the media’s laser like focus on her only is disrespectful to the remaining team members.

  • Randy Martin Pochel says:

    No she probably lost here nerve and knowing ( really ) what could have happened would discourage anybody.
    Training takes the toll , if you can avoid being injured, and reach you peak at the right time. But if circumstances enter then it all goes down the tube ( speaking from personal experience).
    You are left deflated and discouraged, and it takes a strong faith in Jesus Christ that YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS, not on your own though, but with HIM and you got to learn that.

    They say if you get thrown off a horse you get back on, it hurts, you fall, you get back up. Because if you don’t
    you will always be afraid. and wonder what if…..

  • […] the Tokyo Olympics. I got push back when I wrote that Biles wasn’t a quitter; she is the GOAT. Listen to her opening statement from […]

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