American gymnast Dominique Moceanu has come out in support of Simone Biles' decision to drop out of the Team USA gymnastics final due to "mental health" being the main concern.
If you've not been keeping up with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, first of all, where have you been? And second of all, it's all been one hell of a ride so far. But by far, the most dramatic thing to happen was watching the world's greatest gymnast in history, Simone Biles, drop out of her team's finals due to mental and physical health concerns.
The twenty-four-year-old left audiences shocked as she pulled out of the competition following her worst-ever Olympic vault score, saying she needed to focus on her mental wellbeing. The mere fact that her mental health had been compromised could leave her vulnerable to serious injuries throughout the Games so she did the only thing she thought would be right and that was to take a step back and let someone else help lead Team USA to victory.
Biles received an outpour of support from a number of high-profile figures including Michelle Obama and Viola Davis, but of course, she also received some criticism from a bunch of jobless nobodies online, including Piers Morgan, who publicly shamed Biles in an opinion piece saying she "let her team down, [her] mates, [her] fans and [her] country."
After sparking backlash for his comments, he sent a direct tweet to the Olympic champion telling her to listen to him, further adding: "You're a great champion, & great champions get back on their feet when they get knocked down. So, re-engage in these Games, win Gold, & inspire with the power of resilience not resignation. Go for it."
I'm not even sure she knows who he is but here's a virtual gold star for trying, Piers.
You can either listen to snowflake Twitter, @Simone_Biles - or listen to me. You're a great champion, & great champions get back on their feet when they get knocked down. So, re-engage in these Games, win Gold, & inspire with the power of resilience not resignation. Go for it. 👊 pic.twitter.com/RFmV37PX1F
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 28, 2021
However, away from the negativity, others came out to help illustrate just how important it was for Biles to pull out of the competition if her mental health was at risk. American gymnast, Dominique Moceanu posted a series of tweets in which she perfectly demonstrated just how dangerous the sport can be.
Writing on her official account alongside a video of her injury, Moceanu said this: "I was 14 y/o w/ a tibial stress fracture, left alone w/ no cervical spine exam after this fall. I competed in the Olympic floor final minutes later. @Simone_Biles' decision demonstrates that we have a say in our own health—'a say' I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian."
She continued: "In our sport, we essentially dive into a pool w/ no water. When you lose your ability to find the ground—which appears to be part of @Simone_Biles decision—-the consequences can be catastrophic. She made the right decision for the team & herself."
If that doesn't put things into perspective for you, I don't know what will.
In our sport, we essentially dive into a pool w/ no water. When you lose your ability to find the ground—which appears to be part of @Simone_Biles decision—-the consequences can be catastrophic. She made the right decision for the team & herself. @bisping
— Dominique Moceanu (@Dmoceanu) July 28, 2021
The news comes shortly after mental health became a serious talking point for Black women in sports. Grand slam winner Naomi Osaka recently opened up about the difficulties of maintaining one's mental health in the public eye. The twenty-three-year-old Japanese tennis player withdrew from the French Open as she received a $15,000 fine previous to the event because she refused to do the press conferences as it gave her "huge anxiety."
"This isn't a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago," Osaka wrote on her social media. "I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.
"I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly."
We're all for young athletes taking the time to prioritize their mental health. The stigma and judgment around the topic, especially in sports needs to end. Just because these are world-class athletes and we mindlessly assume that they're invincible, doesn't mean they're not humans with real feelings. And if you think otherwise, we don't care for your opinion. Maybe one day if you're classed as the world's greatest gymnast or the number 2 tennis seed, then we'll consider taking it into consideration. Maybe.
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.