Aside from the total hubris involved in assuming that Simone Biles owes Americans anything, some have pointed out that she could very well have helped her team win silver by deciding not to compete.
….did she cost the team a gold medal?🏅or did her decision help her team win a silver medal? 🥈….because if she had a really bad performance her team would not have placed at all.
— Thought Provoker (@Provokingu) July 28, 2021
Others pointed out how ludicrous it is to call Simone Biles “weak.” Gymnastics coach Andrea Orris, said:
We are talking about the same girl who was molested by her team “doctor” throughout her entire childhood and teen years, WON the World All-Around Championship title WHILE PASSING A KIDNEY STONE, put her body through an extra year of training through the pandemic, added so much difficulty to her routines that the judges literally do not know how to properly rate her skills because they are so ahead of her time, and countless more obstacles that we may not even know of. All of this while maintaining her responsibilities to her endorsement deals, the media, personal relationships, etc. And some people can still honestly say, “Simone Biles is soft. She is a quitter.” That girl has endured more trauma by the age of 24 than most people will ever go through in a lifetime.
But even the Texas Deputy Attorney General had harsh words for Biles. Aaron Reitz called her a “selfish, childish national embarrassment” and drew a comparison many are making between Biles’ decision not to compete and the performance of Kerri Strug in the 1996 Olympic Games. At the behest of her coach, Béla Károlyi, Strug pushed through an injury during her vault event to help the U.S. gymnastics team win its first gold ever. As a result, however, Strug tore two ligaments in her ankle. Her last vault was also unnecessary—the team had already secured gold. Strug, who tweeted her support for Biles Tuesday, later said that she would not have done her final vault if she had known the team had already won.
Strug has been widely lauded as a hero for persevering through the pain, but a father and former teacher shared on Facebook yesterday that he sees her experience differently now. “Yesterday I was excited to show my daughters Kerri Strug’s famous one-leg vault,” said Byron Heath. “It was a defining Olympic moment that I watched live as a kid, and my girls watched raptly as Strug fell, and then limped back to leap again.” Heath continued,
But for some reason I wasn’t as inspired watching it this time. In fact, I felt a little sick. Maybe being a father and teacher has made me soft, but all I could see was how Kerri Strug looked at her coach, Bela Karolyi, with pleading, terrified eyes, while he shouted back “You can do it!” over and over again.
My daughters didn’t cheer when Strug landed her second vault. Instead they frowned in concern as she collapsed in agony and frantic tears.
Health believes that what Strug’s coach did and what Biles’ critics are doing is saying, “Our gold medal is more important than your well-being.”