OPINION

Good Morning: I support Simone Biles' decision to withdraw from competition

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Jerrie Whiteley / Herald Democrat

I couldn't sleep the other night. So, I was awake watching when news began to break about the decision a 24-year-old woman made about her own body and mind.

Yes, I am talking about the decision Simone Biles made to pull out of the team competition at the Olympics.

Within mere minutes, there were people all over social media criticizing her because she didn't "suck it up and go for the gold." They compared her endlessly to Kerri Strug who so famously vaulted on a broken ankle. 

What bothered me most I think, was they didn't even wait to find out what Biles said about her decision before they took to the keyboard to start tearing her down. Some of these same people were the ones calling her "The GOAT" and saying she was the golden ticket for the girls team.

It made me wonder what those people were doing when they were 24. How many people were watching them do amazing things and commenting on every step they made? How many of them knew that every tiny toe out of place would be the topic of endless opinions shouted from the rooftops of the internet's superhighway?

I am betting not a lot.

The one thing that the negative reaction to what Biles did proves is that this country has a very long way to go before it can say that it really understands and supports the need for good mental health. It can't be that mental health is supported just as long as it doesn't disappoint or inconvenience total strangers who have nothing to do with the person in question. 

None of us will have to live with the decisions Biles made the other day. S

he will have to carry them the rest of her life. And, she didn't quit on her team. She worried how her mental health was going to make her make mistakes that might cost those other girls their shot at Olympic medals. She put the responsibility for those medals back on the shoulders of the girls who wanted them.

Why is that not an OK thing to do?

She can love America, gymnastics and the Olympics without being willing to sacrifice her physical or emotional well being for any of those things, and if we really care about mental health in this country, we should applaud her for doing so.